If your police family member has been involved in a traumatic incident at work or home that was life threatening then it is normal for them to be affected emotionally and left to grapple with making sense of what happened to them. During this time it is normal and expected that the officer will process, compartmentalise and assimilate what they have just witnessed. This is a survival based response that is adaptive and healthy in the healing process. As a support person to your officer you play a key role in talking with them and supporting them through this period.
Post-trauma symptoms can include:
• increased irritability;
• recurrent nightmares;
• poor concentration;
• easily startled by noises or sudden changes;
• feeling numb or detached/disconnected/withdrawn;
• may show signs of being overly concerned about their safety and paranoid more than usual;
• overly emotional and tearful;
If you notice a change in your police officer’s usual disposition and they are experiencing some or all of these acute distress symptoms, and you are concerned for their welfare, please encourage them to seek medical and psychological assistance. Early intervention is key to any recovery process. You can use your general practitioner as a central point for obtaining further specialist assistance. If any thoughts of suicide or very dark thoughts are shared with you, or you notice a withdrawal from loved ones, you should seek urgent medical assistance for your police officer.