Hyderabad: Commissioner of Police, Rachakonda, Mahesh Bhagwat in association with Praan Foundation organized an awareness session for police personnel of Rachakonda Commissionerate on Friday.
The session was taken by Mrs Spandana, counsellor of Praan foundation addressing the gathering she said, “We need to recognize the mental health issues, remove the stigma around it and learn how to deal with the issues related to mental illness”.
A study was conducted by the scholars of the Department of Psychiatric and social work -NIMHANS (Bangalore) on occupational stress among police Personnel (both male and female) in Calicut urban police district of Kerala state, India.
Police personnel from all designations (ranks), except all India services (Indian Police Service) were included in the study.
The study found that both operational and organizational stress was significant among police officers. Organizational stress was experienced at a moderate level by 68%and in high level by 14%.
The younger age group (21-35 years) and lower level rank police personnel had higher stress.
Stress was higher among female police personnel compared to males. While 23% of them had been diagnosed with physical illnesses, a significant four per cent of them with mental illness and 29% of them reported substance abuse.
The results point to the high level of stress among Indian police personnel and the need for urgent interventions from the government to address occupational stress.
Policing is risky, there are many stressful experiences police officers are exposed to in their line of work, exposure to traumatic events such as violence, seeing dead bodies; abused children, produce some of the highest stress levels.
Exposure to human suffering and death also result in a negative view of life, the pressures of law enforcement put officers at risk for high blood pressure, insomnia increased levels of destructive stress hormones, heart problems, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicide ideation and sleeplessness.
Rotating shifts often lead to inadequate sleep for officers which lower physiological resistance to stress.
Occupational stress and associated physical and mental health-related issues are not addressed in Indian police personnel with adequate importance. To add to it, police officers face a culture of silence and disregard when it comes to mental health challenges and stress is often dismissed as a natural byproduct of the police job.
Going ahead, Praan foundation will visit each police station under Rachakonda Commissinoerate and counsel the staff on mental illness and how to deal with work pressure and stress.
Authored by Roshan Bint Raheem