What many police forces don’t understand is you can’t be so tough that the traumas of service will never affect you. Any of us can be broken. Healthy officers are those who belong to police forces whose leaders talk about their own service trauma and its effects on their lives. This is what makes them stronger, healthier and more effective leaders and police forces. This is what allows them to understand and better respond to their officer’s needs, through training and support programs allowing them to reach out before PTSD impacts their lives and careers.
We can all be afflicted by this shame, and ignorance. We can be broken in so many ways. Instead of reaching out to each other, we lock our trauma away and let the memories become monsters.
We need to be able to talk to a fellow officer, to our leaders or a professional in confidence. We need to know they have walked in our shoes that they care and are willing to listen without judgement. Being able to reach out to another without fear and ignorance is the first step toward killing the monster. It needn’t be your monster you tell them about, it can just be your current life. This could be the step forward that will begin to open the door we all fear.
The Police Forces that choose to open this door will be the ones that break down the “Blue Wall” of stigma.
Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness