Health and wellbeing: Garry Botterill

Health and wellbeing: Garry Botterill

Health and wellbeing: Garry Botterill

Introduction

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has a far-reaching impact on members of the emergency services and armed forces. The Police Care UK 2018 survey showed that as many as 1 in 5 officers reported symptoms of PTSD.

“My Fellowship has literally been a life-changer." - Garry Botterill, Fellow

Police sergeant Garry Botterill (CF 2015) is the National Wellbeing and Trauma Support Dog Project Lead for the National Police Wellbeing Service. As a result of his Fellowship, Garry co-founded Service Dogs UK, a charity that pairs assistance dogs with former military and emergency service personnel who have PTSD. The dogs are carefully selected from The Dogs Trust rescue centres and paired with veterans before undertaking a nine-month training programme with professional dog trainers. Since its inception in 2015, the charity has paired over 20 veterans from the armed forces and emergency services with assistance dogs. In 2018 Service Dogs UK won a Soldiering On award in recognition of its unique support programme.

Garry has also worked with the UK police force to co-develop an online app that helps police personnel with mental health issues. The Backup Buddy app covers a range of problems faced by officers and staff in the police service, such as PTSD, anxiety, anger, depression, stress, eating disorders, self-harm and more. It gives practical advice and support on how individuals can maintain good mental health, spot warning signs for themselves or others, and seek help for themselves or colleagues.

Garry served in the Royal Navy for six years before joining the police, and has seen first-hand the impact that PTSD has had on his colleagues from both the armed forces and the police. At the time of his Fellowship, he was a trustee for an assistance dog charity, so was already aware of the therapeutic benefits of assistance dogs. His Fellowship to the Netherlands and the USA investigated how specially trained dogs can mitigate the symptoms of PTSD in veterans.

Garry says, “My Fellowship has literally been a life-changer. The research I carried out not only proved invaluable in forming the charity, but it also provided me with an opportunity to share my findings within the police.”

“My Fellowship has literally been a life-changer." - Garry Botterill, Fellow

Police sergeant Garry Botterill (CF 2015) is the National Wellbeing and Trauma Support Dog Project Lead for the National Police Wellbeing Service. As a result of his Fellowship, Garry co-founded Service Dogs UK, a charity that pairs assistance dogs with former military and emergency service personnel who have PTSD. The dogs are carefully selected from The Dogs Trust rescue centres and paired with veterans before undertaking a nine-month training programme with professional dog trainers. Since its inception in 2015, the charity has paired over 20 veterans from the armed forces and emergency services with assistance dogs. In 2018 Service Dogs UK won a Soldiering On award in recognition of its unique support programme.

Garry has also worked with the UK police force to co-develop an online app that helps police personnel with mental health issues. The Backup Buddy app covers a range of problems faced by officers and staff in the police service, such as PTSD, anxiety, anger, depression, stress, eating disorders, self-harm and more. It gives practical advice and support on how individuals can maintain good mental health, spot warning signs for themselves or others, and seek help for themselves or colleagues.

Garry served in the Royal Navy for six years before joining the police, and has seen first-hand the impact that PTSD has had on his colleagues from both the armed forces and the police. At the time of his Fellowship, he was a trustee for an assistance dog charity, so was already aware of the therapeutic benefits of assistance dogs. His Fellowship to the Netherlands and the USA investigated how specially trained dogs can mitigate the symptoms of PTSD in veterans.

Garry says, “My Fellowship has literally been a life-changer. The research I carried out not only proved invaluable in forming the charity, but it also provided me with an opportunity to share my findings within the police.”