“Healing can be conceived of as a continued effort to improve wellbeing in the midst of changing conditions and circumstances.” Dr Michael Genovese.

The cost of a life of service as a police officer is invisible to many. As a psychologist, I see the unique and many sources of injury to police wellbeing whether they be operational, organisational, or non-work related. While many will face the need for treatment of PTSD, burnout, depression, and anxiety at some point in their careers, all police need a wellbeing plan to protect their emotional, physical, and relationship health for the entire duration of their careers.

Alongside the distress of reaching the limit of coping that often leads police to seek help, I recognise what psychiatrist Michael Genovese refers to as “deeply ingrained cultural resistance” when it comes to the willingness of police to seek help. Many factors contribute to this resistance, but the result is untreated psychological health problems that have the potential to seriously impact the health, relationships, and careers of a police officer. Help, in many forms including psychology, is essential across a policing career. It is not, never was, and never will be, a failing.

My approach to working with police is informed by two equally important factors known to influence the success of treatment:

  • A strong working relationship: I understand how difficult it is for police to reach out for help. While I cannot experience policing, I am mindful and respectful of the sacrifices made by police during their careers. I will be direct, honest, unafraid of difficult conversations, compassionate, and always available for support as you need.
  • Only evidence-based treatment. Treatment approaches backed by sound research give us confidence that improvement in well-being and resilience to future injury will result from engagement in treatment.


Suicidal thoughts are twice as common in police as in the general population.
Police with 10 years or more service have probable PTSD and suicidal thoughts, higher levels of distress, and lower sleep quality.
Police with probable PTSD have higher rates of harmful levels of alcohol consumption.