WARRNAMBOOL Police are preparing to pound the pavement to raise awareness of post-traumatic stress disorder within the force.
A 30-strong team will wear special shirts in Sunday’s Surf ‘T’ Surf fun run highlighting the Protecting the Protectors’ message.
Beyondblue describes post-traumatic stress disorder as “a particular set of reactions that can develop in people who have been through a traumatic event which threatened their life or safety, or that of others around them”.
Senior Sergeant Di Thomson said donning the #FightingPTSDVicPol tops would help the general public better understand the pressures those in the police force faced.
“I think we’ve all become a lot more aware that the mental health implications for policing is extraordinary and the mental health review has confirmed that,” she said.
“Victoria Police now is really trying to educate members about what can be done.
“Looking after our mental health is one of the greatest things you can do to stay active as you go through your career with Victoria Police.”
Leading Senior Constable Greg Kew said Melbourne-based Detective Sergeant Glenn Holland founded the Protecting the Protectors organisation “to raise awareness and funds for policemen and women who suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues”.
He said the Surf ‘T’ Surf – an annual fun run which starts and ends at Warrnambool’s Lake Pertobe complex – was the perfect opportunity to spread the message that it’s OK to speak up when you’re struggling. It attracts people of different ages, backgrounds and abilities.
“We’ve got over 30 police members, police custody officers, partners and admin staff running in our shirts, so that’s a great result,” Leading Senior Constable Kew said.
“We’ve got a few entered in all the events, from the 3km Lap of the Lake to the 6km walk, 6km run and 10km run.”
Leading Senior Constable Kew said there would be a friendly rivalry between the Warrnambool Police employees who have entered.
The Surf ‘T’ Surf attracts between 1800 and 2000 participants each January.
Sunday’s edition will start at 8am with the 10-kilometre runners followed by the 6km runners at 8.15am and the 6km walkers five minutes later. Lap of the Lake will start at 8.25am.
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.