Almost one-third of frontline gardaí 'walking wounded' in terms of mental health, report finds

Dr. Finian Fallon of City Colleges, Dublin, presenting his Report into the Trauma & WellBeing of Frontline Members of An Garda Síochána, to a selection of the Welfare Committee of the GRA.

Almost one-third of frontline members of An Garda Síochána are described as "walking wounded" in terms of their mental health, according to a new report.

The first significant report in 20 years into the well-being of frontline members has found that some 27% may have either full Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or sub-threshold PTSD.

A report undertaken by Dr Finian Fallon of City Colleges Dublin into the Garda Representative Association (GRA) Wellbeing Survey 2018 was published today and the GRA has described it as "startling reading".

Among the reasons given by the members surveyed as to why their mental health is suffering in the job were: organisational dysfunctionality, rosters, feeling undervalued and underappreciated, poor equipment and nepotism.

"Dr Fallon concludes that over a quarter of our membership may be suffering from either Post-traumatic stress disorder or a variant of this condition and that organisational, structural and working deficiencies may be directly contributing to this serious state of affairs," said John O'Keeffe, GRA, Director of Communications.

"The Report therefore contributes to moving ahead with an essential conversation about the well-being of our members as well as providing evidence for the kinds of supports our members need.

"Internal operational pressures and external life demands make the experience of many of our members susceptible to very high stress levels.

We have experienced the tragic loss of a number of our colleagues recently and we commiserate deeply with their families, colleagues and friends. These losses may be indicative of underlying personal challenges in the force.

"This survey points us towards solutions and demonstrate to members how seriously the Association take these critical issues.

"The GRA has demonstrated a progressive and member-focused approach in agreeing to this survey. Worldwide surveys of this type demonstrate a high level of stress and trauma among police men and women.

"With significant symptoms of Post-traumatic stress disorder (perhaps close to a third of gardaí first responders are what Dr. Fallon describes as "walking wounded" from a wellbeing perspective), the organisation of An Garda Síochána now urgently need to quantify these issues and assess how they may be dealt with."

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