one get an insight into the world of a police officer as recounted
in Paul Horner’s book. Paul’s story is one of a childhood
dream, of shattered illusions, a life out of control, trauma, and
ultimately of healing. You, like many other Australians who have a
fascination for law and order in our society, will find this both
an informative and emotionally touching read. A human story of the
person behind the uniform.
I first met
Paul when he was admitted to the private psychiatric clinic at which
I have worked for the past ten years as a psychologist. My work
focuses on patients suffering from post traumatic stress disorders
(PTSD), as well as other anxiety and mood disorders, and substance-abuse
issues. Paul had been admitted as an in-patient to deal with issues
related to all of the above. Upon discharge from the hospital, I
continued to see Paul in my private practice.
Paul’s story comes at a time when understanding
mental health issues and the impact they have on individuals, families
and the community, are evermore important. Police today are regularly
in the spotlight of the media, often putting their lives on the
line, having to be accountable for their actions, what is less in
the spotlight is the accountability of the systems within the Police
Force to protect its members from suffering the impacts of this
Through this story Paul systematically and engagingly
takes us through the world of policing on the front line weaving
together both the highs and lows of this life from a very personal
and brutally honest perspective.
His journey of recovery from this has been a long
and at times arduous ordeal, I have witnessed Paul go through the
depths of despair, relapsing into his old patterns of coping with
excessive drinking, confronting his traumatic memories, gradually
working through them and dealing with the trials of extricating
himself from a life he didn’t want to let go of. He has had
periods of highs, only to sink into deep depressions again. We have
gone through this cycle many times over the past few years.
I have talked on many occasions with Paul about
publishing this book and I know his hopes are that people will read
this not only to gain an insight into PTSD and the pressures police
are under, but to prompt action within the NSW Police Force, to
highlight the need for better support for police officers, to prevent
others from engaging in self-destructive behaviours, to encourage
change within a profession he still admires and grieves over.
Paul is now rebuilding his life, he still has
the occasional nightmare and will still have flashbacks, but he
now has the courage and skills to manage these times. He is building
a new career for himself and his family and relies on his own ability
to cope rather than using alcohol.
Philippa Kelly BSc (Psych),
Grad Dip (Psych)