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Saturday, Sep 21, 2019

Psychologists appointed to help cops handle job stress

The move comes in the wake of a large number of police personnel being diagnosed with stress and other lifestyle-related diseases during a health check-up organised by the police in March this year.

gurugram Updated: Sep 10, 2019 02:48 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Gurugram
Difficult working conditions, lack of regular rest days and less staff has made the police personnel prone to stress and tension, which impacts the effectiveness and quality of policing, officials say.
Difficult working conditions, lack of regular rest days and less staff has made the police personnel prone to stress and tension, which impacts the effectiveness and quality of policing, officials say.(HT Archive)
         

To help personnel deal with stress on the job better, the Gururarm police have appointed two permanent psychologists who will counsel them regularly. These psychologists will also attend to victims of sexual harassment or those who are in distress and need help, the police said.

The move comes in the wake of a large number of police personnel being diagnosed with stress and other lifestyle-related diseases during a health check-up organised by the police in March this year. Difficult working conditions, lack of regular rest days and less staff has made the police personnel prone to stress and tension, which has impacted the effectiveness and quality of policing, officials said.

Police commissioner Muhammad Akil said that one of the issues identified by the department is that police officers often suffer from stress, which can go unrecognised and unacknowledged for long periods. “The police personnel are under constant stress and do not take the time to seek treatment. To ensure their well-being, we took the step of appointing these psychologists,” he said.

The psychologists will conduct sessions on the second floor of the commissioner’s office and will visit police stations to counsel victims when required.

Pratisha Naithani, one of the counselling psychologists, said that to cope with anxiety, there is a strong need for peer support and talking to families or friends about stress and anxiety associated with the job. “We are counselling around 12 police personnel daily, and to begin with, we first screen and then we build a rapport, which helps break the ice. Also, we assure the personnel that the sessions will remain confidential, as they take time to open up, thinking the conversations will be shared with senior officials,” she said.

As per the police records, several of the personnel suffer from high blood pressure, insomnia, heart disease, diabetes, post-traumatic stress disorder, obesity, depression, anxiety, cancer, substance abuse, relational distress, and suicidal thoughts.

The psychologists said there could be multiple reasons for that, such as long shifts, unpredictable schedules, and exposure to criminal incidents. “During counselling, it was found that most of them were under high-performance pressure, going through family disputes and working tough hours. Many of them find it difficult to balance family and professional lives,” Naithani said.

The counsellors were appointed last Wednesday and since then they have counselled more than 65 people, including five victims of sexual harassment cases, the police said. They said anyone from the department can approach the psychologists.

First Published: Sep 10, 2019 02:48 IST