House debates

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Statements by Members

Mental Health

1:30 pm

Photo of Cathy O'TooleCathy O'Toole (Herbert, Australian Labor Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise in this place today to speak about a very serious matter—that is, police suicide. Police officers are pillars of our community, and when we need help we call them. But far too often when police men and women need help, they have limited places to turn. Before being elected to parliament, I was the CEO of a mental health community organisation. I have taken my passion for mental health into my work as the member for Herbert. I will be a strong advocate for more funding to raise awareness and to reduce stigma.

As a strong advocate, I stand here with the Isles family. In 2009 senior police Sergeant Mick Isles left his home, never to return again. A coroner's report later determined that he had lost his life to suicide. There is nothing more devastating than losing a loved one. Unfortunately, the pain continues for the Isles family, who have been calling for all police who take their lives from PTSD to be recognised on the National Police Memorial.

Steven Isles, Mick's son, has been a strong advocate, leading the charge for those officers who are no longer with us. More than 31 police officers—that we know of—have taken their lives, and this should not reflect negatively on their service, dedication or hard work. If you are a police officer and you have spent your life saving the lives of others, you deserve our recognition and our gratitude. Currently, Mick Isles cannot be recognised for his years of service, but in this place today I want to acknowledge his service to the state of Queensland.