Hi, I’m Stuart Nash and I’m really good at knee-jerk redneck dog whistling, I’m not so good at the thinking stuff though.
Dear old Stuart Nash once again sprinting to show everyone how much he supports the cops and once again stumbling in his attempt to be more cop than the cops.
This time he brainfarted out some pretty stupid beliefs about people using anti-depressants but to his credit he immediately u-turned and acknowledged that he got most of it utterly wrong.
I’ve got a soft spot for dear old Stu, he’s got a heart of gold but forgets he’s speaking to the entire country now and not just uneducated provincial town halls.
The far bigger issue at stake here I believe is the bewildering position of the NZ Police who refuse entry for people who are on anti-depressants from joining the Police force.
I say bewildering because of the signal that sends to Police who are currently struggling with mental health issues and who might think twice about coming forward for help if that’s the Police attitude towards recruits.
I imagine that Police work is one of the most stressful jobs in the country. The exposure to violence, abuse and the worst elements of society has built a large infrastructure of on premise Police bars where cops go to drink and deaden the horror they are seeing and feeling. If there was any workspace in NZ that required active promotion of mental health issues, it would be the bloody Police force, yet the position by Police Management to stigmatise mental health to the point where a recruit has to be off anti-depressants for two years before they can apply successfully sends a very bleak message to current Police Officers that any attempt to manage the terrible stress of the job beyond full blown alcoholism is a weakness which might damage your career.
Such barriers to help only contribute to the stress of the job, they don’t help ease them.
Hopefully Stuart will have been informed enough on this now to show some real leadership within the Police if he gets the opportunity to be the Police Minister in a new Government come September.
If we are to expect Police to be able to do their job in the 21st Century, then legitimate care and concern for their mental health must be a first step.