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PTSD sufferer commits to saving lives by donating to Lifeline

1 May 2017 Wesley Mission news

Simon GillardSimon Gillard’s (pictured above) personal battle with suicide and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), motivated him to help others facing mental illness.

Having attempted suicide four times, Simon knows too well the importance of mental health and suicide intervention services, such as Wesley Mission’s 24-hour phone counselling service, Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland.

“On one occasion I did contact Lifeline, which helped me greatly,” said Simon. “I found calling Lifeline was a partial reason that saved my life.

“Their [Lifeline] response was and it's such a helpful thing, is mindfulness. Just bringing yourself back into the moment and thinking about that life really isn’t that bad. That you can move forward, you can get better. You can be in the moment, settle yourself down and breathe. Deep breaths in-and-out and it just slows you down and makes you come back into the situation where you actually are.”

Not only did Simon struggle with suicide, this former police officer experienced depression and suffers from PTSD.

“I have a complex PTSD and that’s from the things I saw over my 16 year career as a detective sergeant in the police. And things happen with PTSD, they mount and they come out and haunt you at a later time. So I had night-terrors and I was in a bad place and I needed help and I sought help, but it’s a thing I need to manage. PTSD is not something that goes away. You have to manage it.”

Simon’s personal experience with Lifeline and his passion to help others, led him to raise funds for Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland. In the lead up to Simon and his wife’s combined 40th birthday party, they asked their guests to donate to Lifeline instead of bringing gifts. Last December, Simon presented us with a cheque for $1500.

Simon Gillard Lifeline donation box

Simon is now devoting his life to helping save lives as a mental health advocate, motivational speaker and author. Last month, Simon launched his memoir, Life Sentence: A Police Officer’s Battle with PTSD.In Simon's book, he openly shares how his life spiralled out of control through the many horrific cases he worked on as a police officer. Through these lived experiences Simon hopes to save lives, educate the Australian community about mental health and help bring about change.

“I don't want another person to go through PTSD and depression as I have. I want a sufferer to understand there are many other options rather than suicide. There are many adaptive options in managing and treating PTSD and depression symptoms rather than maladaptive methods,” explained Simon.

“I have authored the book to educate from a lived experience point of view. Invisible mental health illnesses are so very hard for people to understand as they cannot be seen. My book will educate emergency services, the military and the wider community that just because it cannot be seen, does not mean it is not there.

“The writing of my book is a commitment to make and actualise change in the methods used to identify, acknowledge and treat a person suffering PTSD and depression.”

Need help? If you are suffering from a mental illness and need assistance, call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Make a difference Help save a life by donating to Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland.