Thu, 27 Apr 2017
In October 2016 and at her lowest point, Georgina Lloyd-Pugh attempted to take her own life after months of battling Mental Health issues. Struggling to cope with personal loss and work pressures she found herself on a beach near to her home with seemingly no way out, however she now sees this breakdown as ‘the best thing that ever happened’ as it made her seek help.
A Detective Sergeant in Public Protection for South Wales police with fourteen years’ service, Georgie has always been a high achiever. Academically minded and career driven, Georgie worked her way up from PC to temporary Inspector. She was committed to a job she loved but 12 months ago she walked out and is yet to return to work.
Looking back Georgie now recognises that she has been suffering for many years but there were three ‘failures’ in the space of a year that Georgie sees as the beginning of the decline in her Mental Health eventually leading her to seek help. It began in March 2015 when she was told her IVF treatment had failed. She did not take time to grieve, instead throwing herself straight back into her work. In December that same year the strain this had on her relationship resulted in the breakdown of her marriage. Once again however Georgie continued to put everything into her job, not stopping to take the time to confront her thoughts and feelings.
To her colleagues everything was as it always was, she would go into work and not let on that anything was troubling her. She didn’t speak to management or seek support; instead she chose to close the door to her office and cry. She made excuses to avoid seeing friends and family spending Christmas alone and by this point began to have suicidal thoughts.
The third trigger was when she went for a promotion to Inspector, keen to advance her career Georgie rushed herself back after knee surgery and even attended on crutches. She was unsuccessful and saw this as another failure which only exacerbated her Mental Health.
At the end of March 2016 Georgie met with her GP and finally broke down, both physically and mentally drained she was unable to hold it all in. However even after being advised by her GP to take time off from work she went back the next day. She only made it to midday before realising she could no longer carry on the way she was and told management she had to leave.
After months of dealing with depression Georgie found herself in a very dark place. In the early hours of the morning last October she drove to the beach near her home and intended to end her life. She was angry, anxious and crying and began walking out to sea. Before reaching the water’s edge something stopped her. The realisation that she was going through with it made her accept that she needed help and she ended up phoning her police force who sent an officer to help.
Georgie is dealing with her mental health every day, she attends mindfulness courses and counselling sessions and is now realising that a healthy work life balance is vital to her mental wellbeing.
On Sunday 23rd April she ran the London Marathon for charity Heads Together, achieving a time of 4 hours and 55 minutes. She was also one of ten runners featured in the BBC documentary Mind over Marathon where she opened up about her personal experiences.
Presenter Nick Knowles said: “It's no secret mental health is an issue in the police service, how could it not be when so many officers are first on the scene of incidents that induce trauma. Not to mention the amount of work placed on officers every day.
“Talking openly and not being afraid of being judged will only come if people are sure they won't have their prospects affected and with the help of someone like Georgie who found a way forward.”
Georgie’s aim is to break down the stigma and barriers which surround mental health in the police service and hopes that by sharing her story she can encourage people to seek help and get the support they need:
“For me it’s really important to say I’m a police officer and I suffer from depression. I thought I understood what mental health was but I never really understood until it happened to me.”
Both episodes of Mind over Marathon are available on the BBC iPlayer.
For advice and support visit our Mental Health page.
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