Welcome to the website for the British Transport Police Federation

An introduction to TRiM

10 September, 2019

British Transport
Police Federation
September 10, 2019

An introduction to TRiM

The one universal truth about policing is that we never know what we may be called to deal with. As we know officers are routinely and regularly exposed to traumatic events. Over time this can take its toll.

Research published by the charity Police Care UK has revealed that more than 90% of police officers will be exposed to multiple traumatic incidents during their career.

Everyone reacts to trauma differently. Some of us may feel no different while others might go through a range of emotions. This is why it's important to talk through your experiences after a challenging incident.

One way to do this is via the TRiM process. TRiM is a peer support programme, which was originally designed for the use in the military in the late 1990s. It's not a clinical intervention; it's not counselling or a form of 'treatment'. It's about helping us to understand our likely reactions to incidents and determining whether we would benefit from further help and support.

We know from questions we have been asked that TRiM is a little misunderstood, so we met with Rachael Etebar, BTP's Director of People and Culture and put some of your queries to her:

What actually happens during the TRiM process?
We have trained TRiM volunteers (peer support) who will arrange to have a conversation with the individual at a mutually convenient time or location; or by phone if this suits both parties. They will explore how the person is feeling as a person who understands what they do and what they are exposed to.

The TRiM practitioner can sign post the individual to sources of help, depending upon what comes up in the discussion. These can range from an immediate referral to OHS and on to a Psychiatric/Psychological pathway, to our Employee Assistance Programme provider for counselling or if the individual prefers to talk things through with a peer, the two will agree to meet again.

If the TRiM practitioner has any concerns about the individual they can escalate immediately to TRiM@btp.pnn.police.uk and we will by-pass all of the above and get them a psychologist appointment as soon as possible.

What happens after someone has been through the TRiM process?
The TRiM process provides immediate support and intervention. If it is identified that the individual needs longer term support during the process by the counselling service or the psychologist service (both normally offer 6 sessions, but they will advise us if more might be helpful, normally up to 10/12 sessions), they will advise the individual to access long term mental health support through the NHS.

Sometimes this is because the incident has awakened long term trauma issues relating back to childhood or other deeply embedded issues, which will need long term specialist intervention. With the individual's permission the counsellor/OHS Nurse or Psychologist may correspond with the GP regarding the support/treatment given to date. We also work closely with other organisations such as PTSD999, Police Care UK, the Police Treatment Centres etc and can refer people on as needed.

TRiM is available immediately after a major incident, but what support is there for officers who are feeling the cumulative effect of years of dealing with traumatic incidents i.e. their feelings don't relate to or haven't been caused by one single experience?

TRiM can be accessed at any time; it does not need to be related to a specific incident. In fact, all the research shows that PTSD can arise due to accumulated incidents or an unresolved issue from the past.

The TRiM Facts on the webpage states: "You can ask to have a TRiM session after any incident that you have found traumatic or are having difficulties coping with. It does not matter how long ago this incident was, you can still request a TRiM session for it. You also do not have to have physically attended the scene. Listening to information about incidents can still be distressing and it is helpful to be able to talk this through with someone."

What should you do if you need the support TRiM offers but don't want to/don't feel comfortable enough to speak to someone at work about the feelings you're experiencing?
TRiM is fully confidential but if an individual feels they really don't want to access support in-house, we can provide details of external organisations such as PTSD999 or Police Care UK.

If you turn down TRiM support immediately after an incident, can you re-start the process at a later date?
Yes. As explained above, TRiM can be accessed at any time.

Other than TRiM, what support is available in force for people dealing with concerns about their mental health and wellbeing?
There are pages on the intranet for managing mental health and stress as well as some on-line learning programmes to assist with stress: http://btp-one/departments/capability/SHW/WMH/Pages/Wellbeing-and-Mental-Health.aspx Wellbeing can be affected by a range of factors and it is this wider area, specifically what support and advice we can provide for reasonable adjustments, sleep, diet, hydration, financial wellbeing, caring responsibilities etc that I want the external expert to advise on*, as I think we could do more.

And finally, remind us how officers access TRiM?
There is a TRiM button on the front page of the intranet, which gives lots of information. Individuals can contact one of BTP's TRiM practitioners by emailing TRiM@btp.pnn.police.uk or request TRiM support by telephoning the Human Resources Business Centre (HRBC) on: 0121 634 5626 - press option 5.

Recent research carried out by the Police Federation of England and Wales highlighted that more than 79% of serving police have experienced stress and anxiety in the last twelve months. If you're finding things difficult at the moment, don't struggle on alone. If you believe TRiM could assist you, please get in touch with one of the peer support team.

* As reported in the most recent Chairman's blog, Rachael Etebar has achieved funding to commission an independent expert to inspect and view BTP's welfare/wellbeing programmes with the aim of identifying ways the service delivery can be improved.

There has also been some recent messaging from both the Chief Constable regarding officer safety and the DCC by way of a post entitled "Help us to help you deal with trauma - your wellbeing matters". These articles and indeed this blog are aimed at improving service delivery but also educating colleagues who - perhaps for the first time - feel they need support, help or advice. It's okay to say you're not okay and there is a range of support available.