Reaction to Incidents

While the new PSRS (Post Incident Support, Review and Signposting) policy is being finalised, the following information outlines signs and symptoms of various conditions which may occur following a stressful or traumatic incident.  

If you are experiencing persistent symptoms associated with any of the conditions listed below, please contact your GP or one of the confidential AGS support services which are contained in the next section.

Anxiety - feeling restless, keyed up or on edge.  Difficulty in concentrating, mind going blank and irritability. Muscle tension and becoming easily exhausted.

Depression - Loss of interest in activities, large changes in weight, sleep problems, lethargy or agitation. Lack of energy, feeling worthless, hopeless or guilty. Difficulty in concentration. Suicidal thoughts.

Burnout - Emotional exhaustion: feeling emotionally drained and washed out. Depersonalisation: not willing to engage with the difficulties faced by others.  Loss of self-esteem: feeling hopeless, useless and incompetent.

Compassion Fatigue - Like burnout but with an increase in emotionality and difficulties in making decisions or concentrating.  A loss of self-esteem and trust in others and increasingly negative outlook on life.

Primary Trauma - Re-experience: intrusive memories, nightmares, flashbacks, intense distress to reminders.  Avoidance: avoiding people, places or activities associated with the trauma.  Arousal: irritable, self-destructive or reckless, jumpy, hyperalert, unable to concentrate or relax.  Negative thinking: lapses in memory, self-blame, negative thoughts and emotions. Loss of interest in activities and an inability to experience positive emotions.

Secondary Trauma - Similar symptoms to primary trauma but without the need for direct exposure to a traumatic incident.  Caused by exposure to victims, families, statements, or artefacts related to a trauma.

Trauma in policing may not be confined to the immediate aftermath of an event.  It can take months or sometimes years for a case to come to court and this can involve reviewing evidence, statements and photographs which can be a trigger.  Remember you can contact support services inside and outside of AGS at any time, irrespective of when you initially experienced the incident or event.  Do not be afraid to contact someone just because time has elapsed and you may feel that you "should be over it".  Help is available.