Victorian police detective, Glenn Holland is returning to his childhood home of Tropical North Queensland to continue spreading the word about the impact of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on members of our State and National police forces.
A convert to IRONMAN after watching IRONMAN Melbourne in 2014, Glenn is using triathlon to raise awareness in the community about the impact of PTSD and to raise funds for the establishment of a treatment centre in Victoria. Having already done the Noosa Triathlon, IRONMAN 70.3 Ballarat and IRONMAN Geelong 70.3, the next stop on Glenn’s calendar is IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns on 11 June, 2017.
“My wife Katrina, my son and I were watching a friend compete in the 2014 IRONMAN Melbourne. It looked exciting and I said to Katrina ‘I wouldn’t mind doing this race’. The only problem was – I didn’t own a bike, I hadn’t swam since primary school and I didn’t know how to run. I really didn’t know what was involved in doing a triathlon.”
Using the training an outlet for stress relief, Glenn gave himself a year to understand triathlon and get himself into shape to the tackle the full IRONMAN distance.
“The day was amazing and it proved to me that when you put your mind to a task anything is possible. It was one of the greatest days of my life and having Katrina at the finish line giving me my medal was the icing on the cake,” Glenn said.
In his role as a serving policeman Glenn was acutely aware that many of his friends and colleagues were facing their own daily challenges with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, brought on by their exposure to traumatic situations they encounter in the course of their daily duties.
“PTSD is a reaction to a situation which has threatened the life or safety of oneself or others and unfortunately traumatic events are often too common for police members whom at times are required to just take it on the chin and move on. It is common to have flashbacks and think to ourselves ‘How did I get through that?’ and there are some members that are not coping.”
“We may look like superman and wonder woman in the police uniform but we are human and have to attend crime scenes that no person should have to see. Over the past few years I have observed friends and work colleagues leaving the job due to PTSD. Some have committed suicide while some are on a long waiting list of up to 18 months for PTSD treatment and it not only effects them personally it also effects family and friends. My campaign is to assist members in speaking up to say they need a hand and to reassure them that help is available.”
With support of The Blue Ribbon Foundation, The Victoria Police Association, ESSSuper, Bank VIC and his triathlon club – Mornington Peninsula Triathlon Club, Glenn is raising awareness of PTSD to both his work colleagues and the wider community and through his racing is raising much needed funds to grow the existing support to a level where more police members can gain better access to critical and needed support services.
IRONMAN 70.3 Cairns is a homecoming for Glenn and he is excited to be competing in his old stomping ground.
“When I was 15 years old my parents and I moved to Cairns living in the Northern Beaches of Kewarra Beach. I finished my schooling at Smithfield High School before working at the Cairns City Council as the mail clerk. It would be great to see everyone in Cairns because their support in raising awareness is vital and much appreciated.”
“I used to swim at Palm Cove all the time and ride up and down the Cook highway to get to school or to the other beaches. I left Cairns when I was 20 and have only returned a few times in 25 years, so I am so excited to do this race. It is just going to be a sentimental race for me and I am just going to enjoy the experience,” he said.
Glenn’s aim is to raise more than $30,000 towards hospital engagement and a specialised emergency services PTSD clinic through his campaign #fightingptsdvicpol, Instagram – protectingtheprotectors and www.protectingtheprotectors.com