RESLEAPS programImage by: The Visuals Team
two men talking
two women in university
26 November 2021

Creating a safe space to share concerns in the police force

3 minutes read time

Fuelled by your support, Movember is funding projects around the world through the Veterans and First Responders Mental Health Grant Program.

There is growing evidence that first responders [firefighters, paramedics, and police officers] and military veterans are at increased risk of poor mental health and suicide.

Although many programmes that aim to support these groups already exist, a 2019 report commissioned by Movember and conducted by men’s health researcher Dr Don McCreary, found a lack of publicly available evidence showing the effectiveness of such programmes.

Based on the report, Movember launched the Veterans and First Responders Mental Health Grant Programme in September 2020, with the aim of identifying promising mental health or suicide prevention programmes and collaborating with those projects to demonstrate their effectiveness through rigorous programme evaluation.

One of those programs is The University of Leicester’s Resilient Senior Leaders Programme (RESLEAPS).

Funded through the Gillette Partnership, Resilient Senior Leaders Programme (RESLEAPS) is a prevention programme for police superintendents that expands on an earlier pilot of forces in England and Wales which fosters a trusting culture and creates a safe space to share concern.

Wellbeing is a priority area for UK Police forces particularly during the COVID 19 Pandemic. Promotion to superintendent rank with its complex and competing pressures can leave officers vulnerable to stress and burnout. The cumulative legacy of repeated exposure to traumatic incidents during a 30-year career can heighten the risk of developing anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms, magnified by the isolation of leadership roles. Superintendents are usually at the end of their career approaching retirement, which is associated with stress and decreased mental health. The loss of a valued role and support network post-retirement for those with trauma histories can increase risk of suicidality, particularly for men.

The program builds on existing peer networks within the rank to create 1) reflective practice groups, and 2) trained peer supporters, to foster a trusting culture, reduce stigma of seeking support and create a safe space to share concerns. These groups will match superintendents in terms of transitions (newly promoted and pre-retirement) to support new leaders and those transitioning to retirement and beyond.

Movember's Global Director of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Brendan Maher, says:

“We owe an enormous amount to our veterans and first responder communities. Through this initiative, Movember wants to help our grant funding partners prove that their programmes are positively impacting mental health outcomes. We want to build the evidence for programmes that truly make a difference to the lives of these men and their families.”

" We owe an enormous amount to our veterans and first responder communities. "

Olivia Hughes, Senior Communications Manager, Gillette UK says:

“We’ve always helped men to look, feel and act their best, but we know it’s far more than what you can see on the surface. As Movember’s official shave partner for over eight years, we’re proud to work with the charity each year to raise funds and awareness for such an important cause. The past year has been no exception, and after a such a challenging time, and one that’s really shone the spotlight on the importance of our mental health, we’re so pleased that the funds raised are going to these incredible projects that foster such important support for our frontline workers.”