In 2005, a number of police officers (Esther McKay, Bob Walsh and Sue Whybro) began to meet informally over coffee to discuss stress related issues they had been experiencing arising from their work in the NSWPF. After a few meetings, other police officers contacted the group and joined the meetings. These early meetings were held at the Campbelltown RSL Club, which was central for most of those who attended the meetings. Most meetings centred around individuals talking about their experience, how they were coping, what strategies they were using and the affect PTSD had on their life, their family and work situation. It soon became apparent that the 'coffee club' approach had become inadequate and a more formalised structured approach was needed.
In 2006, these group meetings became formalised and it was determined that a name should be adopted in order to identify itself as a group. Although the group wanted to use the term 'police' in its identity, it was unable to do so as this term is a restricted use term in New South Wales (permission must be granted from the NSW Police Force) and so the group adopted the name of the Law Enforcement Post Trauma Support Group. As the Law Enforcement Post Trauma Support Group had been meeting at the Campbelltown RSL Club, the use of a conference room was evident and a successful application for assistance was made to the club for the use of a conference room. The group publicised their meetings through the NSW Police Association journal ‘Police News’ and by word of mouth. The group soon grew as more serving and retired members of the police service came to the meetings and became members of the Law Enforcement Post Trauma Support Group. Meetings were held on the third Thursday of each month, with notification of each meeting being made by phone contact.
In early 2007 the Law Enforcement Post Trauma Support Group received permission from NSW Police Force to use the term 'police' in their name. This led to the group changing its name to the Police Post Trauma Support Group (PPTSG) and becoming a registered charity organisation in NSW. The decision to become a registered organisation was taken so that funds could be raised to assist the PPTSG in paying for costs associated when members attended community groups (such as Rotary, Lions Club and RSL clubs) to speak about the PPTSG; to pay for expenses in administration and mailing costs and to relieve the burden on individual members when conducting business on behalf of the PPTSG.
In 2007, as membership grew in north NSW and outer Sydney, the Mid North Coast and the Hawkesbury branches were established. The Mid North Coast Branch is located in Wauchope, a town 375 kilometres north of Sydney, on the mid north coast of New South Wales. The Hawkesbury branch operates from Windsor, a town 56 kilometres north west of Sydney. In 2008, a branch was started at Wagga Wagga, located about 460 kilometres southwest of Sydney and in 2009 a new branch was started at Alstonville, approximately 750 kilometres north of Sydney.
Each branch is supported in its activities by a Chaplain, who provides support and counselling.
Since the PPTSG was formed there has been a great interest in the group and its activities. As calls for assistance from serving and former police officers continue, it is becoming evident such a support group is needed in other states and countries.
MAIN BRANCH - Campbelltown
President - Esther McKay
Secretary - Darren Wagner
Treasurer - Gary Raymond
Pastoral Care - Chaplain Gary Raymond