RECORDS show that North Wales Police have ‘lost’ just over the equivalent of 50 years in days taken off for mental health reasons.

Hundreds of officers from across the region are recorded as needing time away from work in the past three years, according to official figures disclosed by North Wales Police through a Freedom of Information request.

In 2016, 370 officers across the region have had to take time off work for mental health reasons – including stress, depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder.

It also records that 112 officers took a total of 5,536 days leave – the equivalent of 15 years – in 2017 due to varying psychological and mental health issues.

The data shows that last year, a total of 135 officers required 6,871 days for varying mental health issues – a rise of nearly 25 per cent.

Superintendent Alex Goss of North Wales Police said: “Policing is a complex and stressful occupation so the mental and physical wellbeing of our officers and staff is paramount. We have an in-house occupational service provision, and the force funds external support services where appropriate, such as counselling.

"Officers are also able to attend rehabilitation and support centres in the UK, via the Police Federation. We support staff with a formal Critical Incident Debrief process following a major incident. Sickness absence is monitored at a local and strategic level so we can consider individual circumstances when offering support."

Supt Goss added that the force is currently launching a programme to promote the mental health wellbeing of its staff as part of its Lifestyle Matters Health and Wellbeing Programme.

Figures show that officers cited anxiety, depression and stress as the main three reasons for needing time away from work with 22 cases of depression, 34 for anxiety and 72 calls of stress in 2018 alone.

A separate disclosure revealed that in 2016, of the 17 officers that retired on medical grounds, five of those officers cited mental health reasons including bipolar depressive disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

According to research conducted earlier this year by Mind Cymru, seven out of ten (70 per cent) of police employees had personal experience of mental health problems. However, only a quarter said that they would seek support from their managers for a mental health problem.

Glenn Page, senior policy and campaigns officer with the charity, said: “Emergency services staff and volunteers are more likely to experience a mental health problem than most people, but less likely to seek support.

“Our research shows excessive workloads, traumatic incidents and management pressures can all affect emergency service staff’s mental health – or make existing problems worse. Whilst progress has been made in recent years to improve the mental health of our emergency services staff, it is clear that more work needs to be done.

“This includes tackling the work-related causes of stress and poor mental health at work, promoting wellbeing for all staff, as well as supporting employees experiencing mental health problems.”

Since 2015, Mind has delivered the nationwide Blue Light Programme, aimed at reducing stigma, promoting wellbeing and improving mental health support for those working or volunteering in the ambulance, fire, police and search and rescue services – as well as their families – and directing them towards further support in their area.

The team can be contacted on 0300 303 5999 from Monday to Friday between 9am and 6pm, via text messages to 84999, by emailing or going online to