Prevent Police Suicides

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S. and it’s time we in law enforcement take a stand against police officer suicides.

Do you have a suicide prevention program in your agency?

Well, you no longer have an excuse for not having a program. With this new video produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Working Minds Program and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and our CopsAlive.com roll call discussion guide you can create a ready made program the moment you finish reading this article.

Create your own police suicide prevention training program in just 3 Easy Steps.
1. Download the video or show it to your roll call or staff group from your laptop.
2. Pair it with our CopsAlive.com 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge”
3. Establish your plan for any interventions and post the Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders phone number 1–206–459–3020 around your agency.

This video “Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement” was posted on YouTube by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas the Executive Director of the Carson J Spencer Foundation through their work with the Working Minds suicide prevention organization, the Denver PD and Kenosha PD.

You can access the above video on YouTube here: http://youtu.be/u-mDvJIU9RI

Download our 10 minute roll call discussion guide on law enforcement suicide prevention entitled: “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge” by CLICKING HERE.

All training about suicide prevention should… Continue reading

New Information on Police Suicide

breakingthesilencecoverNew IACP Program on Police Officer Suicide

The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) has just released a new resource for law enforcement on police officer suicide, with information and resources on prevention and response to the problem of law enforcement officer suicide. The resources on their website are from their symposium entitled: “Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health” and their website is loaded with lots of downloadable and reproducible materials.

According to the IACP website: “To address the mental health stigma within law enforcement as well as the critical issue of law enforcement suicide, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, in partnership with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice (COPS) hosted Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health in July 2013. The participants at the symposium, which included the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, law enforcement and mental health professionals, worked together to develop a national strategy to address officer mental health wellness and suicide prevention”.

You can find their information… Continue reading

Secondary PTSD – What is it?

secondaryPTSD(This is PART TWO in series of PTSD – What Is it? by Robert Rabe) CLICK HERE to read Part 1

EDITORS NOTE: the following is a guest post from Robert Rabe a Vietnam Veteran who also has 39 Years of Law Enforcement Experience.

Every critical incident has similarities, and everyone is different. And every law enforcement officer’s reaction is individual to them as well. Some officers go through the process of integrating the experience into their psyche without difficulty. Usually this is with the help of others (peer group counseling,debriefings). It is difficult to do it alone. But what can the family possibly do to help the officer? The family can make sure that nothing is missed,especially, if medication is needed. But sometimes medication or even intervention isn’t good enough. Needless to say, if the officer has turned to becoming sullen and melancholy, they are a different person than before the critical incident and onset of PTSD. At this point, the family becomes the secondary victim, and loyalty is tested. The spouse,the children can suffer from secondary PTSD, which is not widely discussed in the mainstream media. Secondary PTSD, while not recognized with diagnostic criteria, is based on the concept, that… Continue reading

Blue Trauma Syndrome

EDITORS NOTE:
The following material is from the new book “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement“ to be published later this year by John Marx the founder of CopsAlive.com.

At the Law Enforcement Survival Institute we define “Blue Trauma Syndrome” as a spectrum of negative physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health-effects manifested by a career in law enforcement. Blue trauma syndrome most certainly has it’s roots in large or cumulative doses of negative occupational stress and manifests many negative physiological, mental, emotional and spiritual symptoms.

Stress makes for an interesting enemy. You can’t see it, you can’t touch it and most times you can’t even describe it. But it is there, and it attacks us every day. We must defend ourselves and armor ourselves from it’s effects otherwise a careers worth of battle fatigue will overtake all of us. I know that I am speaking in generalities here but I think a proper amount of introspection will reveal this is true for the vast majority of us.

Now you can read all the research that’s out there (and there isn’t enough) on the effect stress has on law enforcement officers but it still doesn’t give us enough information about what stresses will get to us. Part of the problem is because the same stress will affect each officer differently and it’s… Continue reading

Breaking the Silence of Police Suicide

Breaking the Silence of Police Suicide
by Trish Buchanan

Please take five minutes of your time to consider, and then do something to stop police officer suicides in 5 easy steps.

1. Start with this short 4 minute video that was created by Trish Buchanan who is the widow of East Hartford Connecticut Police Officer Paul S. Buchanan, a dedicated police officer for almost 24 years and, who sadly took his own life in his police department March 12, 2013.  Please take 4 minutes to watch this video.

2. Then CLICK HERE to download our free CopsAlive.com roll-call discussion guide… Continue reading

Quiet Your Mind

soundwavebyjbaerSm Can You Quiet Your Mind? For law enforcement professionals the importance of being able to quiet your mind is critical as the thoughts, ideas, plans and excessive noise in our heads can become overwhelming. Even in their more mild expressions these thoughts can keep us from being focused, attentive, alert and might disturb our sleep. The profession of law enforcement can be quite toxic and contributes many direct threats to your mental and emotional well-being, not to mention your spiritual health. Things like poverty, tragedy, trauma, death and destruction can be overwhelming and thoughts about these things blend with your everyday thoughts to contribute lots of noise in your mind. Your ability to control and “quiet” that noise might become a very valuable tool in the challenge for you to be able to stay alive or to even survive a full career. Those in police work need to learn to calm and quiet their minds in order to stay focused, mentally alert, and safe. We are attaching a written procedure for quieting your mind as well as a 10 minute audio recording to guide you… Continue reading

Consider a Proactive Annual Check In

Start the New Year with a Proactive Annual Check In

Police work is tough business and it will eat you up if you don’t care for your “self” physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Taking care of yourself mentally and emotionally in law enforcement is usually NOT something you can do alone. Proper care requires Proactive Peer Support, Psychological Services and Chaplains Programs and other support services to be effective.

Police psychologist Jack Digliani has just produced the 5th Edition of his Police and Sheriff’s Peer Support Team Training Manual which he has always made available for free here on CopsAlive.com. He is also recommending that police officers agencies, and other law enforcement professionals consider doing an Annual Proactive Check-In.

What is a Proactive Annual Check In?

The Proactive Annual Check-In (PAC) provides police officers… Continue reading

PTSD – WHAT IS IT?

EDITORS NOTE: the following is a guest post from Robert Rabe a Vietnam Veteran who also has 39 Years of Law Enforcement Experience.

PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a new name for an old story and there are many complexities to its definition. The name, recognizing a medical condition, was coined several years after the onset of the Vietnam War. Similar symptoms demonstrated by soldiers following the Civil War were called nostalgia. GIs during WWI were said to have shell shock. Military personnel from WWII and the Korean Conflict were suffering combat fatigue. No matter what term is used, the symptoms are the same.

There are many descriptions of PTSD:
PTSD – a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.
PTSD – is a set of symptoms that surface following a dangerous, frightening and uncontrollable event including: sleep disturbance, flashbacks, anxiety, tiredness and depression.
PTSD – is a condition recognized by the prevalence of one or more symptoms affecting people who have
experienced severe emotional trauma such as combat, crime or natural disaster.
PTSD – a person may demonstrate symptomatic behavior after seeing or experiencing a traumatizing event where grave injury or death is involved.

You can find the most recent clinical definition… Continue reading

We Need To Get Serious About Dealing With Addictions in Law Enforcement

Operational readiness and our ability to be “fit for duty” is critical on a daily basis in law enforcement and yet we don’t always do the preparatory and preventative things necessary to do to make that a reality.

We know that physical fitness is critical in law enforcement, that’s why we test for it when we hire new cops, and why some agencies still test for it annually.

We talk about understanding that mental fitness is important for law enforcement officers because we screen for it when we hire them but after that initial assessment we seem to go astray and never talk about mental fitness again until someone’s mental fitness is in question.

There is another component of fitness that we never deal with in law enforcement and that has to do with someone who isn’t considered fit for duty and may need to assistance. Continue reading

PTSD Awareness Day 2013

PTSDaware2013-200x200Today is PTSD Awareness Day and its time for those of us in law enforcement to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and take a stance on how we will preserve and maintain our mental health and resilience in the face of a very toxic career.

Today’s the day and June is PTSD Awareness Month and we encourage you to learn more about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) not only to help yourself but your peers and the family members who need you by visiting the website for the National Center for PTSD which is run by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

What are you doing to raise awareness about PTSD in your agency?

They invite you to Take the STEP and Raise Awareness about PTSD

  • Learn about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Challenge Beliefs
  • Explore Options
  • Reach Out

Isn’t it time that we in law enforcement take our own step toward understanding this issue and openly talking about it in our roll-calls and other agency meetings. You can download our CopsAlive Roll-Call training guide on PTSD byCLICKING HERE or keep reading to learn about the many resources being made available by the National Center for PTSD.

Rates of PTSD in law enforcement officers vary but… Continue reading