By the very nature of their roles, emergency services first responders are routinely exposed to critical incidents and traumatic events. Collectively, these experiences can take a significant toll, placing first responders at high risk of developing mental health issues.
From 1986 to 2016, Peter Bellion worked with Victoria Police, spending 26 years with the Major Collision Investigation Unit attending 2000 road fatalities and 20 police deaths.
In 2007 after the Kerang Rail Disaster where 11 people were killed in a truck and train crash, he was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/Injury. After having 3 months leave he returned and eventually worked back in frontline policing and crash investigation.
After another 9 years, Peter’s PTSD had progressed to the chronic stage and he also was diagnosed with major depressive disorder. 20% of his skin was covered with psoriasis and he had 35% psychological trauma injury to the brain.
Peter attended the Post Trauma Recovery Course at the Coral Balmoral Centre at the Austin Repatriation Hospital where he learnt how to manage his serious injury. He has since gone on to develop his management strategies for his injury utilising more natural therapies, such as exercise, stretching, tapping and floating. He now presents as a guest speaker at the Austin Repatriation Hospital, Men’s Shed nights and the Exercise Physiology Course at RMIT.
Peter was awarded the Australian Police Medal, National Service Medal, National Police Service Medal, Victoria Police Medal and Victoria Police Star for his service.
Join me for this week’s episode as Peter discusses his valuable life experiences in frontline emergency services, his serious injury and treatment and how he has moved on in life.