Police Minister tells all about history of PTSD
DEPUTY Premier Troy Grant has described the post-traumatic stress disorder he suffered while a police officer as "dancing with shadows" and paid an emotional tribute to his father.
Mr Grant came close to tears several times during his brave address to New South Wales Parliament, describing his policeman father's misery after escaped Long Bay prison inmates subjected him to kidnap and torture.
"They played Russian roulette with his firearm, tied him to a tree, broke his back, and chewed off half of his left ear," he said.
"My father dealt with that for the good part of 30 years, and his family dealt with it without any support whatsoever.
"We had to deal alone with the stigma associated with what happened because asking for support was not appropriate.
"We had to be tough, get over it, put it behind us and do our best.
"I understand the guilt my father felt from not being able to cope with his mental illness for a long time, as I also feel guilty about the way that I treated my friends and family as I struggled with my own journey."
Mr Grant told parliament he struggled with PTSD and depression during his 22 years of service, only surviving through the support of family, colleagues and friends.
One in particular, a trained psychologist, helped him endure through the pain.
"I think it is important to state that when using a personal experience to do something important for the community I make no claim that I am any better, more important or special than any other police officer who is serving, has served or has suffered mental or like conditions - but I do understand," Mr Grant said.
"I make no criticism of those who do not survive or cannot cope, because this is an individual journey."
The comments followed the ABC's Four Corners report Insult to Injury revealing one in five police officers were at risk of PTSD.
He applauded a new $2 million joint program between NSW Police and Police Legacy called BACKUP for Life, providing mentoring, counselling services and job opportunities for police officers who can no longer stay on the force.
"Once they know they can no longer serve in blue it will provide a new pathway and transition into life," Mr Grant said.
"The evolution in technology and policing practices has been extraordinary, but we have been too slow to deliver the same level of care to those who serve.
"Today's announcement will not be a golden panacea for those who suffer and who feel guilt.
"Nor will it make it easier for them, but it is the least we can do.
"Police officers in my father's era were offered no support, and there was emerging recognition and support in my era." -ARM NEWSDESK