A team from Bournemouth University (BU) has developed a mobile phone app to support mental health and wellbeing for police officers.
It has been designed and tested in partnership with Hampshire Constabulary and is available to their employees and police officers.
The app gives advice and information around mental health, wellbeing, and healthy eating. It can also be tailored to employees’ shift patterns, so they receive personalised notifications before their shift ends around how to rest and sleep well.
It has been developed by a cross-disciplinary team from BU. The project has been led by Dr Huseyin Dogan, with Dr Festus Adedoyin and Professor Nan Jiang from the Faculty of Science and Technology and Professor Jane Murphy and Dr Andy Pulman from the Faculty of Health and Social Science, as well as representatives from Hampshire Constabulary.
Research by the team found that the working patterns and environment for police employees makes it more difficult for them to make healthy choices.
The research team said: “Police officers often work long, unsocial hours in a highly pressurised environment and may experience difficulties in managing their health and well-being. Their jobs can be highly stressful and may feature unusual working hours and multiple shift patterns.”
Speaking to Police magazine, Detective Chief Superintendent and Strategic Domestic Abuse Lead for Hampshire Constabulary Fiona Bitters said: “We had a workforce that was working throughout the night in high areas of response and demand, such as the control room and response and patrol.
“These are the staff who work 24-hour shift patterns led by the radio and calls coming in – they lack the ability to rest, recover or exercise, or can’t always manage a good nutrition routine out of hours – this impacts mental health.”
The team are also looking at how the technology could be used to measure and track health behaviour change and the potential for the app to be used by other blue light services.