As you will have seen if you have read any other trainee blogs, everyone’s role is different. An exciting opportunity came up a few months ago in my place of work to be involved in a project whereby police officers in their probationary two year period come to spend time with our Trust to learn more about mental health and engage with the communities we work with. At the beginning of my placement I mentioned to my managers that I am extremely interested in partnership working; particularly with the police as I studied Law and Criminology at University, so have some knowledge of the Criminal Justice System. I was delighted that my preferences had been listened too and this was a project I got to lead on. If you don’t ask, you don’t get! The graduate scheme is amazing for helping you to shape your experience with your own interests and areas you would like to get involved in.
It required a lot of planning for the first placements to be set up. There was much scoping out for who would like to be involved, discussions over how the logistics would work, liaising with the police, setting up induction days and feedback sessions for the officers, presenting the project to the Executive Directors Group and much more! The hardest part for me was motivating people to get on board with the project, although people were really keen on the idea, it was difficult to manage logistically along the other pressures staff are facing.
I am proud of our amazing staff for being so great with helping me to implement this project and guide the officers whilst on placement. Initial feedback has been largely positive, with one officer saying now when he goes out on an immediate (police terminology for an emergency call I think!), he will now always think about the reasons why someone is in that situation and ask them how they are, rather than presuming the worst! If even one police officer now treats people with mental health issues in a more positive manner, then I believe this project has been a success!