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You Don’t Have to Cop it – Police PTSD Stories.

Former police officers John, Tony, and Ross have a collective 65 years of experience in the NSW police force, but that’s not all they have in common. In fact, all three of them are rebuilding their lives after their experiences within the force that left them struggling with PTSD, and unable to continue in the profession.

Initially the three men explain why they loved being police officers, the best parts were being able to genuinely help those in need, the camaraderie of those around them, and the fact that no two days were ever the same. But the days bled into their nights and stopped them sleeping, causing nightmares from which waking was no relief. Work was a constant, unending pressure.

Former police officer experiencing PTSD making a police workers compensation claim

Tony describes his inability to talk about work at home, and Ross explains the anger he felt at the world around him. “The attitude was that it was pretty embarrassing to talk to someone about it, so you didn’t. A lot of the time it was just go down and have a few beers after work, talk about it with the guys you were with,” Tony says.

Suicide is the leading cause of death for Australians between the ages of 15 and 44, and the third most likely cause in those aged 45-64. One in five former police officers struggle with PTSD, with the leading symptom presenting as suicidal ideation. All three men talk about the despair, anxiety and depression that came from the realization that they could no longer do the job that they loved.

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“I couldn’t do it anymore, it was just getting worse and worse,” says John. Ross explains how he struggled with his self-image in the aftermath, “The moment I realised I wasn’t going to be a police officer anymore was horrendous, it was like diving into a black hole.” Leaving the job came with other pressures, like mortgages and children to look after.

Heartbreaking police PTSD stories

Approximately 1 in every 5 Australian police officers are at risk of suffering from PTSD with suicidal thoughts one of the major symptoms.

During this difficult period, John, Tony, and Ross found light in unexpected places. On one side of that process, Ross says, were his GP, psychologist, and psychiatrist, and on the other was good legal advice. All three men came to Law Partners, recommended by colleagues, and say the experience has changed their lives. “I felt valued and supported,” Ross says of his experience with Law Partners. “I needed someone to understand what I was going through, and with Chantille that’s exactly what I got,” says Tony. John says the standout was dealing with someone genuine and honest.

Receiving compensation has allowed each of them to find a new path, free from financial burdens. John now enjoys the country life as a sheep farmer, Tony runs a small construction business and has learned to cope with his struggles to sleep, and Ross now works in finance and has developed techniques to control his triggers.

If you or a loved one is experiencing emotional distress, help is available. You can reach Lifeline on 13 11 14 .

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