Speak to most surfers and they will say their problems will disappear while out on their board as the waves come in and go out.
That's definitely how Jeremy Barnett deals with the stress of his job.
As a Wollongong Detective Senior Constable, he knows all too well the horrors that first responders see.
But rather than dwelling on them, he attributes his good mental health to a daily surf.
"Surfing soothes the soul. Being out in the ocean, you don't think about anything else, only catching the next wave," Det Snr Con Barnett said.
"Everything else goes out the window. I believe the salt water washes problems away. It is just you and the ocean, and normally some of your mates."
In 2018, Beyond Blue published data from its national survey, Answering the Call, looking into mental health and wellbeing of police, emergency service workers and volunteers.
The study found, employees "had substantially higher rates of psychological distress and probable post traumatic stress disorder compared to the Australian population".
That finding sadly doesn't surprise Det Snr Con Barnett.
"Emergency services are on the frontline. They see the things people never want to see," he said. "We see people in their worst time.
"You see victims that have seen one trauma and it affects them the rest of their life.
"Emergency service workers go to a trauma one hour and then at their next job they will see something similar or worse."
After being in the job for 17 years, Det Snr Con Barnett hasn't suffered from post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety or depression, as many of his colleagues in blue have.
"They say if you have been in the job for seven years than you suffer from PTSD," he said.
"I have been there for 17 years and I don't know. Maybe, but I don't think so.
"I have my bad days, as everyone does, but once I go out for a surf it is all forgotten.
"I have seen some pretty horrific things, but I put my good mental health down to surfing."
Det Snr Con Barnett said he felt like a new "bubbly" person after he went for a surf when feeling down.
"If I'm like that at home, my wife often says to me, 'just go for a surf'," he said. "I come back with recharged batteries."
That's one of the reasons why he organises a surfing and boating trip overseas every two years with retired and medically-discharged police officers.
"The guys say to me, 'we always look forward to this trip because we don't have to worry about anything else except for surfing'," Det Snr Con Barnett said.
He also calls up his mates who suffer from poor mental health to check in on them and ask whether they want to go for a surf.
If you had a sore arm you would go to the doctor to get it fixed. The mind is no different.
Det Snr Con Barnett said they often didn't talk about their feelings while on their boards but rather they were "just one with the ocean".
"I don't think too much when surfing. There is no need to," he said. "You can't change what has happened but you can look forward and learn from it. No wave is the same. With a different wave, I'll start again."
Back at home, Det Snr Con Barnett said he didn't talk through the stresses of his day because he didn't want to burden his family or friends.
"I don't talk to anyone really because I don't want to burden anyone with what I'm going through," he said.
"I know people need to offload to feel better but I just go for a surf. It is a simple philosophy that has gotten me through for 17 years. But everyone is different. Some people need to talk to others, some people need to vent, some people need to see a professional.
"There is a stigma about mental health. But it is not about being big, strong or macho. It is about your health.
"If you had a sore arm you would go to the doctor to get it fixed. The mind is no different."
The almost-religious dedication Det Snr Con Barnett has to surfing has seen him become the president of the Woonona Boardriders Club and Surfing Illawarra director.
He also coordinates the surfing competition for the NSW Police and Emergency Services Games.
The state games were held in Wollongong in October and saw a record 2500 entries.
However, that event will be small compared to Wollongong hosting the 2020 Australasian Police and Emergency Services Games at venues around the Illawarra from October 17 to 24.
The games are a biennial competition held throughout Australasia and are open to all serving, retired and registered staff and volunteers of law enforcement, defence and emergency service agencies.
In a major tourism and economic coup for the region, the games will have 50 sports, 5000 competitors and an estimated 10,000 spectators.
National and state games coordinator Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said the games were about bringing like-minded people together from a range of emergency service agencies as they had similar experiences.
"The games have an equal focus on physical and mental health and competitors' wellbeing," he said. "The whole gamut of emergency services is a tough business.
"Whether you are a police officer on the street, an ambulance officer at car accident, a firefighter in a house fire where someone has been burnt or a nurse at the hospital, it is a tough job.
"It is business that not too many people want to do. You see the worst of the worst in terms of human behaviour and the way people treat each other.
"You have to be that person who puts people's lives back together."
Det Supt Dengate said through communication, education and camaraderie at the games, those who were doing it tough could get assistance through professional help or talking with their peers.
"These games are not there to find the fastest, fittest, toughest or strongest person who works in emergency services but rather I hope if someone wants to be involved in the games then they will start to train and have a healthier lifestyle."
Det Snr Con Barnett has been to four Australasian titles and says they are a chance to catch up with friends and meet people from other emergency service organisations from different states.
"It is fantastic the games are in Wollongong. I have pushed for it to be in the city for the past few years," he said.
Det Snr Con Barnett will compete in surfing and golf during the national games and hopes the event prompts emergency service workers to start exercising in preparation.
"Exercise is important. Research shows the more you exercise the better you are physically and mentally," he said.
"Everyone exercises in their own way. I don't go to the gym but I'll go for a surf everyday. Everyone has their own outlet."
Det Supt Dengate said the games also provided an opportunity for members of volunteer organisations such as Surf Life Saving and State Emergency Service to be embraced by their emergency service colleagues.
He said Wollongong was a great location to host the games as it was not too far from Sydney and had fantastic beaches, fields and a stadium.
Det Supt Dengate said the games would not just be about the competition but rather would be fun for the whole community with Hoodoo Gurus performing at the opening ceremony and a chance to see about 50 sports ambassadors.
Game registrations are now open.
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