Maroochydore police officers Mel Davis, officer in charge senior sergeant Troy Pukallus and sergeant Jay Pickard.
Maroochydore police officers Mel Davis, officer in charge senior sergeant Troy Pukallus and sergeant Jay Pickard. Matty Holdsworth

Why police officers are friends not the enemy

POLICE officers often see the by-product of how mental health issues can erupt into the ugliness that is domestic violence.

When drugs and alcohol are thrown into the mix it gets worse.

Two Sunshine Coast-based initiatives have been awarded more $20,000 through the latest Safer Queensland Community Grants program.

The QPS Vulnerable Persons Unit identified a need for collaboration with clinical professionals to enhance the safety of the community.

Vulnerable persons co-ordinator Sergeant Jay Pickard helped launch a community-based program Starting the Conversation; First Steps of Change.

"Often men will bottle problems until they manifest into behaviours they are not proud of," Sgt Pickard said.

"It can be confronting for men to see their behaviours impacting their loved ones. So in many cases their first interaction with police will not be a positive one.

"The VPU aims at making police more accessible before the crisis develops.

"Holiday periods may bring added stresses this time of year which can impact it further. We see the impact of people taking their own lives and the confusion and emptiness it leaves behind.

"Often the grief of a lost loved one are felt even more so around this time of year."

 

Maroochydore police officers Mel Davis, officer in charge senior sergeant Troy Pukallus and Jay Pickard,
Maroochydore police officers Mel Davis, officer in charge senior sergeant Troy Pukallus and Jay Pickard, Matty Holdsworth

The grant will help the program continue for another six months and to examine issues of men's health and the impact it has on relationships.

It also provides knowledge on how to link in with appropriate support services to allow men to be better husbands, fathers, sons and overall members of the community.

The program is for anyone who wants to change but are not sure where to start, are experiencing depression, anxiety or mental health issues or have let shame or guilt prevent them from seeking help.

"There are many people out there in our community suffering from their 'cups being too full'," he said.

"Don't wait until it is over-flowing before you reach out for advice or help. There are support agencies positioned to provide professional assistance.

"Recognise the signs - not sleeping, becoming socially isolated, irritable, drinking more.

"Let your GP know what is happening to you and ask them for a referral to a suitable support network."

Suncorp representative Brad Steele is passionate about the community projects that have been funded on the Sunshine Coast this year.

"The Safer Queensland Community Grants program was created by Suncorp and QPS to help enable groups to pro-actively make roads and communities safer," Mr Steele said.

"The successful recipients for 2017 have focused on a number of important local issues including; property security, domestic violence and road safety."

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