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  • 2022GoodmanDClinPsy

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Working on the Frontline of Public Service

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Emily Goodman
Publication date2022
Number of pages179
Awarding Institution
  • Lancaster University
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Police work can be stressful putting officers at risk of mental health difficulties. Despite this, literature suggests support seeking amongst officers is low. A meta-ethnography was conducted to synthesise qualitative research on police officers’ views and experience of support, both formal and informal, for their psychological wellbeing. A systematic search identified 14 papers. Five main constructs were developed; overarching influence of culture and stigma, the unknown professional consequences of accessing support, dual role of others: providing support and encouraging support utilisation, supervisors are the
gatekeepers and addressing the unmet need of formal support. Police officers in the reviewed studies recognised the need of support for their mental wellbeing, however, faced prominent barriers to accessing this, which need to be addressed systemically.

The Covid-19 pandemic created an unprecedented scenario for the UK healthcare workforce. The study aimed to explore the experiences of healthcare workers in intensive care units (ICU) responding to the pandemic, with consideration of the societal narrative surrounding the workforce. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine participants and analysed using Thematic Analysis. Four main themes were developed; ICU environment,
complexity of support, coping with the experience and individual psychological outcomes, which were then used to develop a conceptual map. Overall, the pandemic was a psychologically demanding experience for participants with different influences supporting the navigation of the environment, as well as additional challenges.

The critical appraisal provides an overview of the findings from both papers,
establishing the links. Although police officers and healthcare workers have distinctive roles, both the empirical study and systematic review highlighted the role of societal narratives surrounding workers and the influence this may have on mental wellbeing. Limitations and future research recommendations are elaborated on. Author reflections on key considerations of the project are discussed.