PTSD Awareness Month: members urged to seek support

South Wales Police Federation are marking PTSD Awareness Month by encouraging members to reach out for help with their mental health.

The period of education and messaging around Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) takes place every June, with today being a designated National Awareness Day (27).

Federation chair Phil Walker has acknowledged the demands of policing that put officers at risk of exposure to trauma, emphasising the importance of knowledge around the illness.

“The commitment we have to our profession means we often have to respond to distressing situations. Every day, officers will deal with incidents most of the public may only witness once in a lifetime,” said Phil.

“Therefore, it’s essential officers are aware of PTSD and protect themselves from the damage it can cause.”

Police Care UK, who provide support for both current and former police staff suffering from physical or psychological harm, say their enquiries for last year indicate one in five officers may have PTSD.

Mental health concerns

Additionally, the charity revealed 76 per cent of these enquiries were related to a mental health concern.

Phil added: “If symptoms of trauma, such as flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, appear in your life, these should not be left to fester. PTSD is not always immediately obvious, and as all of us in the Force live busy lives, we should take the time to check whether we may be struggling with something.”

The Fed chair ended by reminding members to put their wellbeing first.

“Our dedication can sometimes come at a cost, so we should look after ourselves. Policing is important, but so are you.

“So, if you feel affected by trauma, remember there are options of support available. You are never on your own,” he said.

To find out more about PTSD and how Police Care UK can offer support, members can visit their PTSD help page.