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Gumboot Friday

It’s Gumboot Friday and we want to take a moment to talk about mental health.

At South Taranaki Funeral Services, we know how important it is to take mental health seriously.

Lincoln McCrea is an invaluable part of our small team. Lincoln, a former police officer, works with us behind the scenes, supporting us and quietly giving back to his community. He attends coroners calls and transports the deceased as needed. “It’s not something everybody can do and in my own way, I’m still helping. I’m familiar with the processes and I can give a hand when needed. I’m very much a support to Glenn and Ruth, I’m here in the background.”

Lincoln is open about his own mental health journey – years of frontline police work triggered PTSD and it was tough. At its worst, Lincoln was dissociating for up to 30 minutes at a time, he didn’t sleep much, and says he felt angry all the time. One day, while on patrol, he “woke up” in town, with no memory of how he’d gotten there. “That was the last day I wore my uniform. I stood down on sick leave for six or seven months. My fight or flight response was intense, I was jumping at shadows.”

He was also performing risk assessments on every person he saw.

Lincoln McCrea with Kiwi

He went to his GP, was prescribed antidepressants and found Dr Dan Goodkind. Together, he and Dr Goodkind spent 18 months getting Lincoln back on an even keel. “You don’t see it, looking from the inside out. It’s about having people around you who are prepared to say “you’re not right, there’s something going on, get your ar*e to the doctor and ask for help. The journey is unique and different for everyone.”

Lincoln’s life has now transformed. “I’m well and truly on the other side of it now, I’m stronger and more resilient than I was… I sleep now, I don’t self-medicate, I’m not angry all the time.

Working with Glenn and Ruth, and doing my environmental work, it’s pretty satisfying and I get a lot out of it.” It’s important to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, Lincoln says. “It doesn’t have to be how you feel. It can change. I’m always happy to chat to people if they need it, people shouldn’t feel like there is no one to talk to or nowhere to go, there is always somewhere or someone. I’m always happy to have a yak.” The important thing, he says, is to speak up about how you are feeling.

You can also source support services through:

  • Gumboot Friday (under 25s), your GP, or by calling lifeline or the depression helpline.
  • Lifeline 0800 543 354 (0800 LIFELINE) or free text 4357 (HELP) – here to helps
  • Samaritans 0800 726 666 – for confidential support for anyone who is lonely or in emotional distress
  • Depression Helpline 0800 111 757 or free text 4202 – to talk to a trained counsellor about how you are feeling or to ask any questions
  • Healthline 0800 611 116 – for advice from experienced health staff

If you’d like to donate to Gumboot Friday, 100% of your donation will go towards free kids counselling:

Lincoln McCrea opening up about PTSD on gumboot friday
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