Endurance Athlete | Mental Health Advocate
Former Police Officer & Social Worker, PTSD Survivor, Plant-Powered Endurance Athlete
A graduate of the Bond University Law Faculty and Griffith University Department of Humanities, James Maskey is the National Engagement Manager of the Beyond Blue Police and Emergency Services Program, working to reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions, attempted suicide and suicide among police and emergency service personnel
James is also a retired front-line Queensland Police Officer with a service history including General Duties, The Police Citizen’s Youth Club and the highly regarded Child Protection & Investigation Unit.
During the course of his duties, James responded to countless critical incidents, murders, suicides, home invasions, domestic violence incidents, fatal traffic crashes and serious sexual assaults.
Constant exposure to these critical incidents compromised James’ mental health, causing him to endure: re-experiencing symptoms, avoidance symptoms, negative cognitions and mood fluctuations associated with the traumatic event; in addition to hyperarousal symptoms that include insomnia and irritability.
In 2013 James was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In 2015, James made the difficult but empowering decision to resign from the Queensland Police Service in an effort to reclaim his mental health. During his service as a Queensland Police Officer, James was truly grateful to contribute towards meaningful outcomes for some of the most vulnerable people in the Queensland community.
PTSD is still part of James’ life. It didn’t conveniently disappear when he made the decision to move forward and leave the situations that caused the mental illness in the first place. It’s a constant and daily battle.
After leaving the Queensland Police Service James moved to Melbourne and tested new career options including Case Management and Team Management for a not for profit child welfare agency. After signing up to a local gym and undertaking several personal training sessions, he found a new sense strength and solace in fitness. Running marathons and completing Spartan obstacle course races, James became fitter, stronger and faster than ever before.
Recent endurance events include:
In 2018, James competed in the ‘Fire and Ice’ Ultra Marathon, one of the toughest multi-terrain races in the world, spanning 250 km through undulating terrain situated in Iceland. James represented Australia in Iceland, competing against some of the world’s most elite ultra-runners. Whilst training for and competing in this gruelling event James championed support and raised awareness of PTSD and funds for Phoenix Australia – The National Centre for Excellence in Post Traumatic Mental Health.
In 2019, alongside three team mates, James will attempt an ultra-distance world record for the furthest distance travelled in a 24-hour period on a Concept2 SkiErg machine. Whilst training for and performing this gruelling ultra-endurance world record attempt, the team are championing awareness, support and raising much-needed funds for two Australian based Non-Governmental Organisations – Beyond Blue and the Lighthouse Foundation.
Dedicated to empowering others to reclaim their mental and physical health through education and training, he is passionate about the profoundly positive impact that regular and mindful exercise has on regulating and bettering our mental health. James is also utilising his reclaimed health and athleticism to assist others who may be suffering from PTSD and lead by example by making his story and his journey public.
James is incredibly passionate about changing the stigma that surrounds mental health, raising the profile of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and empowering those who suffer from the debilitating mental health challenges to seek the support of professionals who can help them recover.