Why we're supporting PTSD999

15 May 2024

Exposure to trauma is almost unavoidable when you're a police officer. During their careers, each officer is likely to encounter between 400 to 600 traumatic events*. Most citizens will experience between three or four in their lifetime.
It comes as no surprise then that rates of PTSD in the UK police service are almost five times higher than in the wider population. Around 90% of police workers in The Job, The Life study had experienced trauma, and one in five of these reported symptoms of either PTSD or complex-PTSD.
The origins of PTSD999

One police charity that focuses on PTSD education, training and support is PTSD999. The organisation was founded almost ten years ago by friends Gary Hayes and Simon Durance. Both men served within the military and emergency services, and both have PTSD as a result of their service.
Realising there wasn't any widely available accessible PTSD support for serving or former emergency service workers and their families, Gary and Simon set about changing that. The result was PTSD999, that provides support, sources and funds treatment, delivers training and raises awareness of the impact the condition has on a person's life.

Since 2015, supporters have raised money to support this work, including Gary Thwaite from Civil Nuclear Police Federation and Stuart Cowan from BTP Federation.

Last summer the pair (pictured in their walking gear) hiked more than 500km from the Lake District to London, raising £16,000 for PTSD999. This year, Gary and Stuart are avoiding blister-making fundraising activities and instead are organising an event that supporters across the country can participate in.
The Big Summer Quiz will take place in Liverpool on Thursday 27 June. As well as a quiz and three-course meal, the evening will feature an auction and raffle. These will run online allowing the wider police family to get involved.
An important cause

This is an important cause for both officers. Stuart Cowan said: "We've both had friends and colleagues who have faced very difficult times. Some didn't make it through.
"When we did the Blue Light Hike last year we received calls and messages from people who recognised themselves in what we were talking about in our videos; that sense of feeling alone, overwhelmed and not sure what to do about it."
Gary Thwaite reiterated the importance of having a range of services that officers can access in a way that suits them but added that we shouldn't underestimate the impact we can have on the people around us. He said: "It's essential that services like PTSD999 - which offer alternative routes to support away from the work environment - continue to receive funding to secure their future. But it's as important that we have conversations about mental health in the first place. "It's each of us checking in on our friends and colleagues that can make the difference. We can be the nudge people need to look into what help is available and make the call, make the appointment, that can start to turn things around."
Event information

The Big Summer Quiz takes place on Thursday 27 June at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Liverpool. Tickets cost £75 per person (tables of ten are also available) and this includes a three-course dinner and entry into the quiz. This entertaining evening will also feature a raffle and an auction of 'money can't buy' experiences.
  • Buy your tickets here

  • Sponsorship packages are available for organisations keen to show their commitment to the emergency services.
    Contact for more information.

    *Source: Police Federation of England and Wales

     © CNPF. Privacy Policy