A Police Constable who has undergone mental health treatment at Flint House has trained his OK9 Trauma Support and Wellbeing dog to help other officers with their mental health. PC Paul Roe’s beloved pet Holly now works as a police wellbeing dog after he saw how well she helped him with his recovery. Holly and Paul recently enjoyed a stay at Flint House to help in his recovery and Holly is to become an ambassador for the Charity.

Paul said: “Holly is absolutely made for the role of wellbeing dog. She just loves to get cuddles, she loves to meet people, and we do so much with her now. We do something called, ‘Paws Time’, where we go and take people away from stressful environments or we walk and talk, so we can do one-to-one with officers and go for a walk in the country.“I have mental health first-aid qualifications; suicide prevention, I’m an Oscar Kilo peer supporter, and I can signpost people to occupational health and doctors, but it’s really about spreading some timeout with the dog.”

Paul – former British Transport Police and now a Cambridgeshire Constabulary officer – was diagnosed with police-related PTSD after experiencing being knocked unconscious on duty and attending several serious train accidents when he worked with the British Transport Police. It was triggered four years ago when he suffered an ankle injury during training. Wellbeing dogs, now used in 33 forces, engender a sense of calm, improve daily emotional and psychological stresses, and help people to deal with the impact of a traumatic event. Paul has taken Holly to stay in Flint House to help patients.Paul added: “I’ve had Holly since she was 12 weeks old and when I got my diagnosis with my PTSD and I had my ankle injury and saw me wearing a big air-cast boot, she really changed. We’ve always had a bond, but when she realised that I wasn’t quite well, that I couldn’t go walking, she realised somehow mentally that I just needed that extra little bit of support. She’s been absolutely amazing.”

“To a certain extent, without the support of Holly, who knows where I would be now.”

Paul is still recovering from his PTSD, and he says he is proud to have experienced it: “I’ve got a hoodie that says, ‘PTSD – not all scars are visible’, because once I got to terms with my diagnosis I said, ‘I’m not going to hide this, I’m going to tell people that I’ve got this and I’m going to try and help people that I can’. He added: “Flint House helped me with sleep patterns and relaxation and realising that it is okay not to be okay, and it’s been an amazing experience. The staff here and the facilities are just second-to-none.

“I rave about Flint House constantly, to anybody and everybody, because I think it’s just the most fantastic facility and the attention to detail that you get from the physios and the mental health practitioners here is just absolutely amazing.”