HEADSPACE: Banks Creek Retreat committee Karen Harmon, Grant Neilson, Sally Hodder, Nicole Seden and Tony Dell.
HEADSPACE: Banks Creek Retreat committee Karen Harmon, Grant Neilson, Sally Hodder, Nicole Seden and Tony Dell. Contributed

Lowood officer's selfless act for colleagues with PTSD

A LOWOOD police officer has taken the welfare of colleagues into her own hands by opening a secluded emergency services retreat.

Senior Constable Nicole Seden and her husband Grant Nielson opened Banks Creek Retreat earlier this year.

Located on a 100-acre block near Fernvale, the retreat offers a relaxing and rejuvenating experience exclusively for emergency services and Australian Defence Force personnel.

The couple has spent about $5000 of their own to clear land and establish the retreat, where personnel can come and mingle.

"People come out here, we have free camping and they can talk around the campfire," she said.

"It puts people in a better headspace."

Sen Const Seden said her own experience in the line of duty led her and her husband, also a former cop, to do something.

"I've seen some horrific things and it's only because of prior knowledge, I picked up PTSD," she said.

"I've seen too many people struggle and the black dog is on their back. It does take lives.

"I'm sick of it and something has to be done."

The couple has made the Banks Creek Retreat their extracurricular passion while they balance full-time jobs.

Since opening in February the retreat has welcomed several hundred emergency services and Defence personnel.

Snr Const Seden said officers left the retreat in a better headspace than when they arrived.

It makes it all worthwhile," she said.

For the couple money and time are the biggest issues.

They have put the call out for community donations to help improve the facility and built more outdoor infrastructure.

The senior constable hoped to build chalets on-site for people to stay and undertake resilience and recovery programs.

Snr Const Seden will also represent Queensland Police Service during this year's Lightning Bolt Rally - a 2000km trip to raise awareness about PTSD.

The convoy leaves Toowong Wests Leagues Club on October 2 and arrives in Sydney in time for the opening of the Invictus Games.

"The ultimate vision for Banks Creek Retreat is to create a supportive space for us to help our brothers and sisters fighting against this internal struggle," she said.

Snr Const Seden said PTSD was recognised among Defence personnel, but less so for first responders.

"The ADF is further advanced than what emergency services are at this stage," she said.

The QT has nominated Senior Constable Nicole Seden and Grant Nielson for a Pride of Australia award.

Pride of Australia is a News Corp initiative to unearth and honour ordinary Australians who make an extraordinary community contribution.

Nominate a hero at prideofaustralia. com.au.