Our next guest on the Mindarma podcast is James Maskey, who works at Fortem Australia, a not-for-profit wellbeing support organisation for first responders and their families.
James was 24 when he was diagnosed with PTSD in late 2013. James was a highly regarded young police officer stationed in the Logan district between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. In his own words, James was old enough to know his PTSD was from cumulative trauma, young enough to have no idea what it meant to live with the symptoms.
Rather than seek support from the Queensland police force, James was advised to keep his mental illness a secret. He even became a plain clothes investigator with the Logan District Child Protection and Investigation Unit.
Until it became too much.
In this podcast with host Dean Yates, James talks about being diagnosed with PTSD so early in his career, what he’s learnt about his injury and how he’s found new meaning in life.
In 2018, Beyond Blue released a major report that showed one in three first responders in Australia experienced high or very high psychological distress. It showed 10 percent of all first responders probably had PTSD. That number jumped to 25 percent for former police and emergency services personnel. The report also found that poor workplace practices and culture were as damaging to first responders as occupational trauma.
James Maskey is the human face behind that alarming data. James was also formerly the National Engagement Manager of Beyond Blue’s Police and Emergency Services Program.
In his work with Fortem, James is deeply committed to driving cultural change, high-value policy reform, and additional government support to support positive mental health and wellbeing in the first responder sector.
Additionally, James is an advocate for individual first responders and works tirelessly to increase help-seeking behaviours, remove barriers to accessing supports such as entrenched stigma, and ultimately create mentally healthy workplaces within the first responder sector.
We hope you enjoy this important and candid conversation with the incredibly inspiring James Maskey.
You can learn more about James’ work here.
You can discover more about Fortem Australia via the links below.