Home Uncategorized Mental Health Awareness Month: Why?

Mental Health Awareness Month: Why?




Received this from a Neighbourhood Support group I belong to..

How silly to pick one month of the year where we are supposed to be aware of mental health problems when in fact we should be aware 12 months of the year!

This week we digress from the usual crime and suspicious behaviour topic to simply focus on mental health. Although you have all been listening lately to the news about the number of suicides occurring in New Zealand and how they are on the increase, what you probably have not heard is the amount of suicides occurring in our own small patch just in the past 3 weeks. They have been prolific. Not just one or two.

When someone has made up their mind that they are going to commit suicide it is a hard job to persuade them otherwise.

Spare a thought for our police. They are the ones usually to be first to attend and to clean up the mess. They are also only human and just because they wear the blue uniform it does not mean they are not affected by some of these grizzly sights. Yes they debrief each other. They come up with sick jokes in order to relieve the stress they are under but over a period of time the brain starts to tell them that enough is enough. The job does not entail just catching baddies.

One incident which always comes to mind when I was in the Force at Levin was dealing with a chap who hated traffic cops and assaulted one. I went to his front door to make an arrest and he came at me swinging a machete in one hand and a reap hook in the other. A few years later the same man visited me at Wanganui police station and apologised profusely.

So what can be done to stop these suicides? To be proactive is the 1st thing. Anxiety and depression go hand in hand. Try and nip these concerns in the bud before matters get so bad that a person starts to contemplate suicide.

Loneliness, Bullying,Burnout,a boss who knows everything but knows nothing,dealing with ever changing regulations, to name just a few of the things that can set matters in motion.

This is where Neighbourhood Support comes in. How often do you people check on your elderly neighbour living alone? How often do you rural people catch up with your neighbouring farmer? Communication is the name of the game. If someone else knows that you are facing the same problems they are or have faced the same problems in the past, that can be a huge help to a person. The relief that they are not the only ones suffering. A problem shared can be a problem solved.

Post Traumatic Stress can be another factor. It can be just one little thing that occurs years later that causes a lot of unpleasant memories to come flooding back.

On a personal note, I was very fortunate in my days in the police to work with a chap who had been on the recovery phase of the Erabus disaster. He mentioned that when he returned to work he was fortunate to have an understanding boss because he would start work at 8am and finish at 4.30pm and he could not recall what he had done all day except sit in his office chair. The only way he got himself out of this situation was to talk to various groups about his experience on the ice, recovering bodies and body parts.

The reason why I was fortunate was because I experienced the very same thing a few years later attending a horrific plane crash in deep bush and with the same results. Fortunately there were only 9 people on board that aircraft.

Since those days we have both found that when memories come flooding back, if we blink rapidly for a period of time the memories go away. Sounds silly but it works.

Another thing to remember is that if you have good staff, if you look after them well, they will look after you.

As for the bully, well I am a golfer, I imagine that bully or parts of that bully every time I hit the golf ball. It did wonders for my game at the time I can tell you. I am sure it can be adopted to other sports.

Just a few things to think about folks. Every little bit helps and you never know when that little bit of help you provide might just work wonders for someone without you realising it.

Be a good listener.

Thank you people


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