News

Stressed out Ex-cop fights for PTSD payout

Former Grafton police officer Stephen Bell with his daughter Cailgh.
Former Grafton police officer Stephen Bell with his daughter Cailgh. Adam Hourigan

FORMER Grafton police officer Stephen Bell gave everything to the Police Force, including his mental health.

He now suffers from post traumatic stress disorder and finds it very difficult to leave the house, spends days in bed and sometimes has breakdowns in social situations.

A dispute over a car park is enough to send him over the edge.

Mr Bell sees a psychiatrist every fortnight.

But the real battle for him and his family, and the 300 former police officers in similar situations, was the three and a half year battle with his insurance company, MetLife, for his $700,000 permanent incapacity payout.

Ex-NSW officers who suffer from PTSD are eagerly waiting a State Parliamentary forum to be held on December 2 into how former officers are being treated by the Force, State Government and insurance companies.

While Mr Bell won't go to the forum because it will be too stressful, his wife Nicole and daughter Cailgh will travel to Sydney to tell of their experience and how the treatment of the insurance company slowly broke down their family.

"When our kids were in high school we had to spend our savings and borrow off friends," Mr Bell said.

"I've seen a psychologist every fortnight since I retired, but I have only been covered to see them since November."

His office is stacked with doctors' reports MetLife continue to demand he take.

Mr Bell claims MetLife sends people to stake out his house every few months to try and video him, so it can prove he can still work.

"The insurance company keep up this constant surveillance."

Mr Bell asked MetLife for the footage through the Government Information Public Access Act.

He has footage taken of him caring for his horses, taking out the rubbish and at the shops.

Cailgh said the surveillance was most intense when her father first retired.

"It was really hard during high school. The surveillance started in Year 10 when I was 15 years-old," she said. "I felt alienated; it made me feel uneasy to leave the house because I had strangers following me."

Ms Bell said at her high school graduation her father had to sit at the back of the room near the emergency exit in case he had an episode and needed to leave.

"Lucky I was called first so we could go straight away," she said.

"It is sad to know what your police go through for their community, and then they get treated like this."

Wife Nicole Bell said the impact of the constant battle with the insurance company was enough to destroy a family.

"You're constantly building up barriers until eventually you shut down," she said. "Steve was my main concern because I didn't know what he was going to do."

NSW Member of the Legislative Council David Shoebridge is spearheading the Parliamentary forum.

"The failure of the Police Force and governments of all political colours to address PTSD with police is genuinely distressing," Mr Shoebridge said.

"I've had countless police, serving and former, and their family members with harrowing stories how they are injured and how they feel ostracised once they get PTSD.

"The behaviour of one insurer, MetLife, is nothing short of reprehensible."

Topics:  editors picks nsw police post traumatic stress disorder ptsd



Your newspaper just took out three global gongs!

News Corp's Hey Mumma named best in the world!

Hostage accused to face court tomorrow

Eyewitnesses huddle together outside the scene of a hostage situation at the Hotel Cecil in Casino.

50-year-old man remains in custody

Workshop to help with local chef vacancies

Head chef of Yamba Shores Tavern Kirsten Mainland - lots of jobs on offer for chefs in Lower Clarence.

Summer rush leads to shortages

Local Partners

Servant Or Slave to screen in Grafton on Sorry Day

Movie screening for National Sorry Day this week at the Saraton Theatre


Hemingway unearth another dimension to Yamba stage

UNIQUE SOUND: Hemingway will be at Yamba's Pacific Hotel next Saturday night.

Brothers' "do or die” pact to make a career out of the music

Father Riley's message for Reconciliation Week

A supplied photo made available Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2009 of Bill Onus, President of the Victorian Aborigines' Advancement League (right), participating as the only Aboriginal in the march for Aboriginal Rights referendum on May 29, 1967. The photo is part of 'From Little Things Big Things Grow', an exhibition on indigenous rights which opens at the National Gallery of Australia today. (AAP Image/National Library of Australia) NO ARCHIVING, EDITORIAL USE ONLY

National Reconciliation Week to be held from May 27 to June 3

Love, lies and leading ladies in extraordinary free concert

DOUBLE ACT: Catherine Britt and Amber Lawrence are touring together.

Award-winning female country artists team up to tour latest music

Rebel Wilson says she didn’t have to lie to make it

I’M not glamorous, but that doesn’t make me a liar: that’s the message from Rebel Wilson on her second day in the witness box.

Kim Kardashian slammed over Manchester tribute

Kim Kardashian's tribute to Manchester didn't go down well

Top Gun 2 movie is happening, Tom Cruise confirms

Tom Cruise in a scene from the movie Top Gun.

TOM Cruise delights fans with announcement on Sunrise.

The first Baywatch movie reviews are in

From left, Jon Bass, Alex Daddario, Zac Efron, Dwayne Johnson, Kelly Rohrbach, and Ilfenesh Hadera in a scene from the movie Baywatch.

Critics were less than impressed.

Boyfriend loses it over sex lie

Stacey Louise’s sex lie destroys her relationship.

SEVEN Year Switch’s Stacey told a fib about her sex life.

Why Crowe’s thankful for those ‘bulls**t’ rumours

Russell Crowe and Terri Irwin in 2007.

Crowe and Terri Irwin have been dodging dating rumours for years now

Stars line up for writers festival

POPULAR: Byron Writers Festival 2016 recorded the biggest crowds in 20 years of the event.

John Safran, Deng Thiak Adut and Dava Sobel among others

How Toowoomba house prices compare in Australia

For sale sign in front of home.

Here's what $700,000 will buy you in Toowoomba, Brisbane and Sydney

One of Maryborough's most historic homes is still for sale

FULL OF HISTORY: Trisha Moulds is owner of the historic Tinana state known as Rosehill. The beautiful home is currently for sale.

It has been the scene of both joy and tragedies over the years.

The face of the Sunshine Coast's overpriced rental crisis

Alyx Wilson had to rent a $385 unit in Currimundi because the market was too competitive for cheaper rental housing. She is now renting a room from friends who own a house in Currimundi, and says its much more affordable.

Young people feel the strain in competitive, expensive rental market

WATCH: Take a tour of a tradie's dream home

5a Bruce Hiskens Court, Norman Gardens, going for $720,000. INSET: Lea Taylor.

Huge block with potential for anything

REVEALED: Where it's cheaper to pay off a mortgage than rent

6/190 Ewing Rd, Woodridge, is listed for offers $215,000. Picture: realestate.com.au

Brisbane suburbs where it is cheaper to buy than rent

Ready to SELL your property?

Post Your Ad Here!