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Emergency services personnel suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are calling on the State Government to legally recognise occupational stress as a cause for the condition.

Niddrie man Matt Ross has spent the past year clawing his way back from the brink of darkness after years of exposure to trauma during a 20-plus-year career as a police officer.

Mr Ross has struggled with the weight of disturbing memories of knocking on the doors of families to tell them a loved one had died.

Mr Ross holds his service medals. Picture: Ian Currie

“I needed to get some help,” Mr Ross said.

“My marriage was hanging by a thread. I was trying to deal with my symptoms with booze until that became a problem and I’m drinking a bottle of vodka a day and staying in bed until late in
the afternoon.”

A diagnosis of PTSD and several admissions to a psychiatric clinic helped Mr Ross with his struggles.

But many ex-emergency service workers are forced to seek support on their own while grappling with WorkCover and private insurance companies to prove they have a mental health condition as a result of their work experiences.

This article was originally published by The Herald Sun.

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