golden retriever

Mental health, where next?

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I am a serving Police officer in a small northern force, I am approaching 15 years service and have always been a front line response PC. 

Last year was the worst in my service for the number of fatal RTA's and suicides I had to deal with. I had several people die on me and even went to a hanging with a local lad i knew on my beat. My routine enquiries and daily activities became overwhelming and I struggled to cope.

Since the police budget cuts started I went from a shift of x4 PC's & x1 Sgt to just me a lot of the time.

In November 2016 I had a breakdown at work, my Sgt came to see me, she was great and I went home.

I was sick for two months with stress/anxiety, i got some counselling from our welfare dept and a prescription for beta blockers and anti depressants.

I tried to go back to work on a phased return, within two weeks I couldn't cope at all. 

Man emotional wreck, not eating, sleeping severe anxiety, exhaustion, flashbacks to fatals, panic attacks.......

I was signed off from January 2017 till June 2017, Ive had EMDR treatment for PTSD.

When I returned to work in June I was overwhelmed and my anxiety came back, the thought of going back to response Policing is making me ill again.

I have remained at work this time as I don't want to be off sick, Ive enjoyed most of my service but feel emotionally wiped out and not the same strong person I used to be.

I have no other aspirations and want to see my service out, it's taken me 8 months to admit that response Policing and the stresses that go with it, is making me ill.

I have an appointment in the next few weeks to see the force doctor, up to now I have always tried to put  a brave face on to him and say i want to go back to response. 

What the hell should I say to him this time, I want to stay in the job and am as worried I'll get the boot!

 

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Do you have the option for a neighbourhood team? In my force I do keep busy on NPT but it's a lot slower pace. I spend most my time revisiting victims and doing safety plans and crime prevention. There is still an element of responding but not attached to the radio as much. We have two officers working with our team on restricted duties and they tend to do what we do but over the phone. Keeps us out on patrol more doing face to face visits. Not sure what uniform departments you have but might be worth discussing moving teams. 

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golden retriever, I too have suffered with depression/anxiety mainly caused by work. It took me about 2 years to admit to myself that I had a problem. My wife recognised it though and made me a doctors appointment without me knowing. One day when we were out in the car she pulled into my doctors surgery car park and when I asked her why, she said she had made me an appointment. She knew I would never have made an appointment myself. Thats when I knew I had a problem.

The doctor was great, and prescribed me Fluoxetine which really helped (after a few weeks). This, combined with other events (certain staff leaving my team, changes in my work & personal life) helped me get back on my feet.

Sounds like you were braver than me, as you took time off sick (and rightly so) whereas I daren't due to the perceived stigma attached to the illness. Looking back I should have taken a few months off.

Edited by Yorkshire

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