Police Mental Health
Hey everyone, I hope you’re all travelling well and looking after yourselves. It’s been a busy month and there have been some highs and lows. Tango Juliet Foxtrot continues to do well and we’re spreading the message about the importance of looking after our mental health and starting a conversation.
The memorial service for the four Victoria Police officers killed whilst performing their duties back on the 22nd of April 2020 was a moving tribute and I’m sure that those who were either there or watched it on live stream had the hairs stand up on their arms. I know that I had a cry and I certainly felt flat for some time but also relieved that we could finally provide some closure to our lives.
When these things come up it automatically brings back memories of traumas that I have been through and I find it particularly difficult to process. The key for me is to keep putting one step in front of the other to try and move forward. It’s not always easy and I often experience days where I cannot get out of bed or I am really unwell. My anxiety and post traumatic stress bring up physical symptoms. Diarrhoea and dry retching are not uncommon. It’s as though my body sends me a warning that it doesn’t want to play. I do my best to soldier on and seek solace in knowing that we have good people in our lives that are there for us and hopefully we can be there for them.
There is support available and I am guilty of not always accessing it as soon as I need it. I sometimes stew on the shit and that is not healthy, I’m trying to get better and I want you all to know that there is support available and the best support isn’t alway provided by the organisation.
Whilst it has improved, I often feel that when members are struggling, the processes in place can seem difficult and not member friendly. Who wants to fight with an insurance company that make you jump through hoops when you’re already feeling like you can’t continue?
I have many people that I’ve have dealt with that feel that this process actually exasperates the issue rather than provide them with relief. This shouldn’t be the case and I’d like to see more change when it comes to this. I understand that not everyone is comfortable with dealing with the department when they are feeling overwhelmed, I initially didn’t have anything to do with the organisation when I fell ill but I did reach out to my GP who provided me with alternative support until I was ready to deal with the whole work cover thing. This provided a buffer and made me feel a little less vulnerable in a situation that I was finding difficult to understand.
The Zach Rolfe trial continues in the NT. There was another police shooting yesterday of an indigenous male. I’m sure that the members involved are feeling the pressure and I hope that the force treats them better than they did Zach. As we know, policing is a complex and often difficult occupation. It’s very easy for all of these armchair experts to get on their high horses without knowing all of the facts. This is not helpful to anyone, especially those involved in the incident.
I had an interesting conversation with a psychiatrist the other day about having someone advocate for veterans mental health issues. Who advocates for the police member or veteran when the insurer makes things difficult? An issue was currently bought to my attention by another veteran in relation to work cover supporting Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment. He was knocked back because of new legislation that basically states that there must be a minimum of 4 month gap between TMS treatment so that the effectiveness of the treatment can be fully assessed. This is a bull shit piece of legislation and anyone that knows how TMS works can tell you that most people require regular treatment for it to be effective.
What is the point of waiting until a person is so sick that they cannot function before providing them with further treatment? It really is time that we have decent access to the support required to help guide us smoothly through the current system. I personally feel that support is lacking in this area and in the future would like to see better services in place to assist members and veterans with administrative processes whilst they are suffering with health issues.
Anyway, that’s enough from me. Feel free to drop an email to us with anything that you’d like to discuss. Continue to support each other and look after yourselves.