Feeling distressed at times is normal

First responders are those remarkable individuals such as police officers, paramedics and fire fighters, whose role it is to be the first on the scene of an incident or emergency.  They are there to support those in our community during what may be the worst day of their life, so it is only right that we strive to ensure they are supported.


Research shows that 1 in 3 first responders experience high or very high levels of psychological distress in their lives.


It’s not surprising that police officers are at a higher risk due to repeated exposure to potentially traumatic events.  There can be a cumulative impact of this confronting work that may lead to vulnerability to high stress environments.  When combined with shift work and disrupted sleep patterns there’s the potential for mental health and wellbeing to be negatively impacted.


While it’s completely normal to experience anxiety, stress and worry, it becomes problematic when these experiences are prolonged and impact day to day functioning at work and at home.  


It’s important to act early when you see warning signs that may indicate a need for your loved one to seek advice or access support.  Often these are a reaction to a life stressor or situation; and can signal something is not quite right.


Symptoms may include:

  • Anger outbursts

  • Increased irritability

  • Eating or sleeping too much or too little

  • Having low energy

  • Feeling helpless, confused or forgetful

  • Experiencing mood swings

  • Feeling down, flat or blue

  • Increased anxiety and worry

  • Feeling agitated or on edge.


If you notice these symptoms in your loved one, you may want to encourage them to speak to a psychologist who can help them manage and cope with stress.  Psychologists can explore ways to manage stressors and help them develop a different perspective.  It can be of great benefit to speak with a psychologist as it can lead to a quicker and more positive outcome than dealing with things by yourself.  Having the chance to speak to someone else can be validating and promote healing.


WA Police Force has a great team of highly qualified psychologists to support our workforce.  To discuss your current situation, contact:


WA Police Force is committed to the wellbeing and privacy of our workforce. At no time will personal or medical information of any personnel be available.

If your loved one is a police officer, the costs are covered of seeing an external psychologist of their choosing for either work or non-work related issues.