As the Guyana Police Force continues to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of the fire that destroyed more than 80 per cent of the Brickdam Police Station complex, the mental health, and welfare of the ranks who were directly affected by the traumatic ordeal is being prioritized.
This is evident as the Chairman of the Police Association, Inspector Prem Narine, and team along with Dr. D. Sharma, Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Wazir Khan of the GTM Group of Insurance Companies visited the ranks of the station which is being temporarily housed at the St. Stanislaus College compound.
Narine and the team assessed the welfare and mental health issues and offer assistance where needed. This visit followed shortly after the Welfare Officer, Deputy Superintendent Jewel Sullivan, and team conducted a critical incident stress management and by extension a critical incident stress debriefing.
Dr. Sharma who is a specialist in post-traumatic stress with over 30 years’ experience, during his talk with the ranks, offered his services and described mental health issues as ‘the brain not being at its best’. He gave self-assessment indicators as feeling sad or down, confused thinking or inability to concentrate, disruption of sleep patterns, loss or gain of appetite, and – one that is very critical is – loss of energy.
He encouraged the ranks to take advantage of his services or visit any other health professional to get the help they need to cope with the traumatic event. Collaborating with Dr. Sharma and the Police Association is Khan who noted that the GTM Group of Insurance Companies is working to assist ranks by covering the cost of the sessions with Dr. Sharma.
He stated that there are no limitations to the number of sessions, however, the ranks are asked to produce their insurance cards upon visits. Also, the GTM Group of Insurance Companies is working closely with the Welfare Department to assist with coverage for personal items that were destroyed in the fire.
Narine in his assessment stated that as it relates to the general welfare of the ranks, there are no major complaints or issues. He added that the Welfare Department is adequately addressing any issues and the ranks, despite the displacement, continue to perform their duties at an optimal level.
He commended them and encouraged them to remain resilient.