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Stopping Stigma in the Workplace โ€“ Award Winning PTSD Pilot Education Program is Changing Attitudes and Saving Lives.

With 1.4 million, or 6.1 per cent of Australians suffering from PTSD and associated conditions, there is an urgent need for community awareness and acceptance of this debilitating condition which can substantially impair an individual's ability to cope with daily life, and which, at its most severe can lead to suicide.
Established in Canberra in 2008, Picking Up the Peaces (PUTP) is a not for profit organisation dedicated to raising national awareness about the signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). With a membership consisting largely of nurses, paramedics, defence personnel, firefighters and police officers, as well as other PTSD suffers and carers, PUTP has developed the Picking up the Peaces Pilot Education Project to assist front line emergency services workers.
"Because of the stigma associated with mental illness, and the prevalence of the PTSD in the police and defence forces, emergency services and health practitioner sector; an overwhelming number of PTSD sufferers and their families suffer silently because of their fear that accessing professional help will negatively affect their career." said Ms Kate Tonacia, President of Picking Up The Peaces.
"Sadly for many PTSD sufferers, this is an all too true reality. The PTSD Pilot Education Program was developed specifically for training emergency service personnel and agencies to recognise the signs that a mate or colleague may be struggling with PTSD and to get them help, as research demonstrates the earlier PTSD is recognized and treated the chances of a full recovery are improved dramatically, as is a better quality of life."
"The pilot program has delivered real results, with 61% of participants' said they would be more likely to seek help for themselves for PTSD and that 80% would be more likely to take action for a colleague who they thought may show signs of PTSD. Evidence also suggests that a culture of stigma exists within front line emergency services organisations that prevents employees to seek help in-house, and this is something that PUTP is seeking to address, because no-one should have to choose between the career they love and their mental health." concluded Ms Tonacia.
In recognition of the community value inherent within the program, PUTP recently received the Cross Sector Collaboration Award at the inaugural ACT Mental Health Week Awards 2012, which is sponsored by the ACT Government.
PUTP would like to thank the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Federation (VV&VF) and Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT) for their support and input into the Picking up the Peaces Pilot Education Project and the ACT Government and ACT Emergency Services for recognising the value of the Project.

For further information please email [email protected]
www.pickingupthepeaces.org.au

UPDATE #1
PUTP recently received the Cross Sector Collaboration Award at the inaugural ACT Mental Health Week Awards 2012, which is sponsored by the ACT Government.

PUTP would like to thank the Vietnam Veterans and Veterans Federation (VV&VF) and Mental Illness Education ACT (MIEACT) for their support and input into the Picking up the Peaces Pilot Education Project and the ACT Government and ACT Emergency Services for recognising the value of the Project.
The Cross Sector Collaboration award recognises excellence and innovation in mental health related services, programs or initiatives involving collaboration or partnership between organisations that contribute to improved wellbeing or quality of life for people living with mental illness.

What was read out by Dr Peggy Brown, Director- General, ACT Health Directorate on the day.

Congratulations to "Picking up the Peaces". A self grown organisation who has worked hard to heighten awareness in the community about post traumatic stress disorder and its impact. Most notably partnering with MIEACT to develop an education package, ACT Emergency Services, and Vietnam Veterans and Veteran Federation to reach groups that are extremely hard to access. They have done this with respect and with quality and safety in mind, to improve the wellbeing and quality of life of those affected by post traumatic stress disorder. This is a fine example of cooperation and collaboration that results in the best outcomes for the community we serve. Goodwill and cooperation feature often in the mental health sector. Well Done.

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