Managing the mental health of Queensland Police employees

(Report 2: 2017–18)

Audit objective

The objective of the audit was to determine whether the Queensland Police Service is effective in preventing mental illness and monitoring and managing the mental health of its employees.

Overview

Policing is a people service—it's about police interacting with the public, at times in emotive, tense, distressing, and challenging circumstances. Any one, or an accumulation of these interactions, can affect the mental health and wellbeing of police. This, coupled with the stressors that impact on the wider population, means police are considered more susceptible to mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. 

This audit assessed whether the Queensland Police Service is effective in preventing mental illness and monitoring and managing the mental health of its employees. We assessed the effectiveness of the service in promoting and monitoring mental health, preventing mental illness, and managing mental illness when it does occur.

Recommendations

We recommend that the Queensland Police Service:

1.

better coordinates and enhances its staff wellbeing and mental health support service and information within a clear strategy and integrated framework (Chapter 2)

The development of the new Our People Matter strategy is an opportunity to ensure all elements link together and align with the organisation's priorities.

2.

acts to understand and address the mistrust of some employees in its current mental health frameworks and support services (Chapters 2 and 3)

The actions should include clarifying and better communicating the role of human services officers and their confidentiality obligations to improve employee trust and understanding about the role.

3.

improves how it designs, coordinates, delivers, and records its mental health training (Chapter 2)

The enhancements to mental health training should include:

  • increasing the coverage of the training across its workforce
  • ensuring training packages complement and build on one another
  • clarifying and emphasising the roles and responsibilities of leaders and managers in proactively manageing mental health
  • ensuring all mandatory training occurs and all training participation is recorded.

4.

assesses options for screening employees prior to them leaving the service, and for enhancing post-service support (Chapter 2)

5.

develops processes and measures for analysing its data for trends and to assess the effectiveness of support services so they can be continuously improved (Chapter 3)

These processes should include opportunities for injured employees to provide feedback on their experience of the effectiveness of the services.

6.

improves the consistency and coverage of mental health screening and monitoring (Chapter 3)

The improvements to mental health screening and monitoring should include:

  • developing a consistent approach to determining the specialist units for mandatory screening and health monitoring
  • improving the participation rate of employees in voluntary mental health monitoring
  • further exploring options, such as its pilot of online assessments, to expand the coverage of mental health monitoring to include general duties officers.

 

Other reports and resources

Report 4 from 2016–17: Criminal justice system—prison sentences (Report 4: 2016–17)
Report 14 from 2016–17: Criminal justice system—reliability and integration of data
For more information or support for mental health issues, please see the beyondblue website and resources