PTSD – Have We Really Improved?

You may also like...

9 Responses

  1. Rob Parker says:

    Better or worse. I can’t really say as I’ve been retired now for 24 years except for one example which I’ll come to soon.

    I served with Hampshire Constabulary from 1966-1995 a few years here and there in uniform but mainly CID, often with 24/7 responsibility. My last posting was as Scenes of Crime DI for the whole force area including the Isle of Wight. I’ve been to several railway tunnels, light aircraft crashes, many murders including children, cot deaths, shotgun suicides etc. plus associated post mortem examinations. If it happened I pretty much saw it all.

    There was not one occasion over those nearly 30 years when a senior officer asked me if I was OK after an incident. Not one. Was I offered support? No. Did I know if support was available? No. A few pints in the police bar or local pub, head down and onto the next horror. Am I affected now? Well, I can’t unsee all those scenes. They are still clear if I care to think of them but thankfully I am not suffering from the memories.

    A couple of years ago I watched an official video on You Tube where a DCC was having an informal chat with officers at a rural station. One PC did the ‘asking for a friend’ bit and queried whether any further support was coming to the station as his friend was feeling under great stress with too much to do and knowing that any call for backup would take 30 minutes to arrive. The DCC’s reply? “Tell your friend if it’s that bad he should maybe think of employment outside the police service” or words to that effect. I was gobsmacked to say the least.

    If this is typical of top level management today then God help the poor buggers who remain.

    • RetiredAndAngry says:

      Somewhat reminiscent of the “dry your eyes” comment from a Chief Constable last year or so

    • Interesting, I was a transferee from the Met and eventually was destroyed and targeted at the highest levels for highlighting corruption. It was the actions of the force that caused my illness, not the incident etc that I was involved with throughout my service. The present DCC of Hants exacerbated my illness and the force failed to allow reasonable adjustments as well as settings g me up to fail when I returned from long term sickness. If I look back to the Met, my father in law was also in the Met at the time in early 80s, we felt that there was more support, he also was in the medical facility at Hendon and I attended Flint House. In Hampshire I found that the culture of fear and bullying was not conducive to alliowing people to support you.

  2. Nigel Maggs says:

    I started my 34 year career with BTP in 1980 at Swansea then I was transferred to the London Underground in 1985 for 6 years, before finally returning home to South Wales
    During my service I attended somewhere in the region of 30+fatalities which included body parts recovery, continuity at the Mortuary and then notifying the NOK, which was never an easy task
    People react through shock in different ways but you just adapt to whateverr is in front of you
    One NOK notification. my Sergeant and I gave was during a night shift. As soon as we informed the deceased’s wife that her husband had taken his life, she became hysterical which subsequently woke up her daughter
    As her daughter came downstairs to see why her mother was so upset, we were told that it was her daughter’s ninth birthday that day
    My Sergeant and I were numb when we left the house thinking that the young girl would not see her father again
    I also attended scenes of train crashes in the mid to late 80s, the sinking of the Marchioness and the aftermath of the King’s Cross fire.
    Some of these I can never erase from my memory, but at the time it was considered to be very macho, if you get my drift, to just deal with it and move on to the next one
    We used to claim ‘ handling’ expenses whenever we dealt with a fatality, but our Chief Inspector questioned us when we claimed it on numerous occasions due to a spate of fatalities. I kid you not
    Sadly we used to attend one then two would follow shortly after
    I thank you for highlighting this and hope that this gets recognised in the appropriate manner

    • RetiredAndAngry says:

      Back in the 80s I took part (much to my Force’s horror) in a BBC documentary “The John Wayne Syndrome”, which was much more sympathetic than the title suggests and highlighted perfectly the macho practice you refer to and the consequences of it.

  3. Great post and certainly food for thought. I thought things had changed for the better in the ‘job’ in relation to mental health. Now, I’m not so sure, after reading this.
    The rest of my comments are not intended a s plug for my book but my experiences, I believe, are relevant.
    I too, like Mr Parker, am ex-Hants. I was one of only three undercover officers on Operation Julie 1976 -1978 – yes, only three. The remainder were surveillance teams.
    I became someone else (another identity) for a long period of time while undercover. There is no doubt it contributed to my nervous breakdown and resignation in 1980.
    I resigned while certified sick and awaited an appointment with a shrink. In the end, I “self-healed,” with no help from the job whatsoever.
    After writing my memoir about my undercover experiences, I have made numerous attempts to rectify the fact I left the job with no medical pension. Mental health was a stigma back then and no way was I going to jump on the medically disabled bandwagon.
    What a fool!
    Hampshite (sic) Police, and its Force Solicitor have used every legal obstacle available to them to deny me some form of compensation. I must add at this juncture, the Federation and its solicitors did a noble but vain job in advocating my cause.
    At one point, I requested my own “discovery” – my personal record.
    Much to my disgust but no real surprise, Operation Julie isn’t mentioned once on my records.
    What was mentioned was a comment from a Chief Constable who never knew me, marking my reference for the Hong Kong Anti-Corruption Commission as “unsuitable.”
    Unsuitable, why? Because I’d had a nervous breakdown?
    If the truth be known, it was more than a nervous breakdown. It was more likely to have been Dissociative identity disorder (DID), previously known as multiple personality disorder, a mental disorder characterized by at least two distinct and relatively enduring personality states.
    So, I’m sorry to hear your story and I empathize. At least you stuck it out long enough to draw your full pension.

  1. May 22, 2019

    […] that have read my previous post will know that I once had to deal with the suicide of a friend and colleague. His occupation was not […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: