Mr Simon Gillard, Owner at Simon Gillard joined us at the 2018 Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference, presenting a captivating presentation on ‘PTSD Unmasked’.
My presentation was an informative session around PTSD education from a lived experience point of view. As a former NSW Police Detective Sergeant who formed PTSD and depression due to work related trauma, my insight is applicable to all emergency services, military, mental health professionals and the wider community.
I discussed the stages of PTSD and depression and how a sufferer wears a mask, why they wear a mask and why a sufferer compartmentalises trauma. Due to external circumstances, a PTSD sufferer can be forced to mask their condition due to fear of career loss, stigma attached, or fear of retribution.
I also spoke about breaking down the barriers for early intervention to be realised. Resilience training, education along with peer support programs are functional methods to assist in achieving early intervention. What was discussed in more detail was that in the case of emergency services and military, there are changes that will promote early intervention.
I outlined the feelings associated with suicide from a lived experience point of view as well as the facts around why suicide seems to be the answer by a sufferer. I also introduced a suicide prevention resilience model which I developed.
Simon Gillard was a NSW police officer for more than fifteen years, before being invalided out of the force with PTSD. His first book, a bestseller called Life Sentence: A Police Officers Battle with PTSD, was released by Penguin Random House in May 2017.Simon is an Ambassador for R U OK?, Australian Rotary Health and the Blackdog Institute and lives in Sydney with his wife and 3 children.