6th October 2018
As a former Chief Commissioner I am heartened and congratulate the efforts of Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton and Police Association Secretary Wayne Gatt in their effort to raise money for Retired Police (veterans) Peer Support program and awareness of the trauma faced by police veterans as a result of service to this State on their “Head to Head” walk.
During my service I saw mental health issues with serving police but they were of the overt type and the term PTSD was yet to be coined however I reflect back that the problem was probably just as bad as it is now but we did not recognise it. We did have limited psych services but the general attitude to members who were struggling was, “suck it up and get on with it.” It is only in later years I have recognised the trauma that mental health has on police veterans and their families who are often forgotten.
Time has passed and medical diagnostic skills have dramatically improved and I often wonder if we had the knowledge back then that we have now early intervention would have avoided chronic mental health issues suffered by veterans today.
The Community Advocacy Alliance (CAA) of which I am chair has been working on initiatives to assist in the problems faced by police veterans. We have presented our proposals to the Government and the Opposition as well as Federal politicians.
We wish you both great success in achieving substantial support for the real heroes of this issue, the Retired (Veterans) Police Peer Support officers.
Kelvin Glare AO APM
Chief Commissioner (Retired)