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DATE: September 7, 2017
TIMING: For immediate release

The Federal Government has announced $1 million of funding to assist a Police Federation of Australia (PFA) campaign designed to promote awareness of police officers facing mental health challenges.

The campaign will promote awareness, understanding, prevention and early intervention of mental health issues through print, television, social media, Apps, workshops and the production of a documentary styled video.

PFA President Mark Carroll said the organisation appreciated the government’s timely boost to the campaign.

“The funding is going to help us increase public awareness of the mental ill health among police officers,” he said.

WAPU President George Tilbury said the funding was coming from proceeds of crime which was very appropriate.

"Police officers work hard to catch the criminals so it is only fair that they should benefit," Mr Tilbury said.

“Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the most frequently reported occupational disorder in policing with data suggesting that one in six first responders suffer from some form of diagnosed mental health issue.

“With effective treatments available, the best outcome is for the police officer to be returned to meaningful work as soon as practicable thus ensuring optimum policing numbers across the jurisdictions in order to prevent crime.

“Over the course of a policing career, the serious incidents investigated by a police officer can have a lasting psychological effect. It is this work environment, coupled with a culture that values stoicism and self-reliance that can adversely impact upon the officer’s mental health, and contribute to high rates of PTSD and depression.

“As the cost of psychological injuries continues to rise; police forces are using resources that could otherwise be used for crime prevention and law enforcement.

“By educating the work force on the importance of early detection and destigmatising mental illness, there is hope it will lessen the impact on police officers, their families and the workplace.”

Mr Carroll said: “Growing this awareness and understanding– and doing away with the stigma that surrounds mental ill health – will require a significant cultural change right across our profession.

“This sort of cultural change will require a comprehensive, sustained and integrated program of work. This funding will help the PFA to meet that challenge.”

The campaign has the full support of all the nation’s state and territory police unions.