Spending on psychological support for police officers hits its highest level this year

Almost €2.3 million has been spent since 2020 on providing psychological support to Gardaí and staff dealing with trauma or incriminating evidence, as well as other mental health issues.

The force said they paid around €867,000 to provide psychological and psychiatric services to their staff.

This covered the cost of 1,934 individual sessions, 600 of which took place in the first ten months of this year, according to An Garda Síochána records.

A further €1.4 million was paid for an independent advice service which has recorded more than 11,400 calls since the beginning of 2020.

This expenditure also included the provision of a specialized psychological support service for those most likely to encounter distressing material in their daily work.

The service is available to the staff of the Computer Crime Bureau, the National Bureau of Protection Services, Division Protection Services units and specialized child interviewers.

All of them may have to deal with graphic images, videos and evidence of sexual or physical abuse of children as part of their duties.

An Garda Síochána said that in 2021, the first year of operation of the specialized service, there were 842 consultations of this type.

According to information released at FOI, there have been an additional 1,177 individual sessions so far this year.

Spending on psychological support for police officers has peaked this year.

In the first ten months of the year, €780,000 was billed for mental health support, which has already surpassed the €774,000 spent throughout 2021.

Mental health issues are an important issue for An Garda with nearly 480 members referred for psychiatric or psychological assessment or other mental health care in 2020 and 2021.

The constant toll of stress and anxiety on gardaí resulted in at least 11,176 lost workdays over those two years, according to official figures.

An Garda Síochána said the well-being of staff is of paramount importance to the force, with an extensive network of support available to staff.

This included a frontline peer support network that makes trained Garda members available to help a colleague who experienced a traumatic incident at work.

A 24-hour independent advisory service is available to all Gardaí, civilian personnel and reservists.

A spokesman said: “This confidential service offers advice on a wide range of work and personal issues, including critical incidents, trauma, finance, relationships, grief, stress, conflict and health.”

He said that gardaí also launched a wellness app late last year, designed specifically for An Garda Síochána employees.

https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/expenditure-on-psychological-supports-for-people-working-in-policing-reaches-highest-level-this-year-42211838.html Spending on psychological support for police officers hits its highest level this year

Fry Electronics Team

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