Over the last several months we have seen protests, gun violence and anti-police sentiments break out in cities around the country it has made national headlines. Unfortunately, the news doesn’t report the toll these circumstances take on officers across the country. If we truly want them to work at their best there needs to be a constant spotlight on the unique stressors those working in law enforcement face.
Our goal is to go home at the end of the night. If you are blessed to work your entire career without getting physically injured, consider yourself lucky. But, as we know, countless officers, and civilian staff members, go home daily with an emotional toll that few could possibly understand… Continue reading
PTSD – It’s time to stop talking and start learning
You might just save a life and that life might be your own.
Learn a little about PTSD today. Then learn about Trauma
PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD. U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – National Center For PTSD
Who Develops PTSD?
Anyone can develop PTSD at any age. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will have PTSD, many of which are not under that person’s control. For example, having a very intense or long-lasting traumatic event or getting injured during the event can make… Continue reading
This wellness and resilience information is suitable for all first responders and your family members. We will have a live audience and will record it for others to watch, later for free, on the CopsAlive.com YouTube channel.
With all that is happening in the world today maintaining your health and wellness is of paramount importance. Law enforcement professionals, other first responders and members of the military are normally faced with the most challenging situations in the world and now with a new global pandemic to face your personal wellness is mission critical.
John Marx, CPP
Law Enforcement Chaplain Cary Friedman
NYPD Detective First Grade (Ret.) Mordecai Z. Dzikansky
Sgt. Clarke Paris, LVMPD (ret.)
Tracie Paris, RN, BSN
Lois James, Ph.D.
Stephen James, Ph.D.
Christie Ward, CSP
Time: Duration 129 minutes
Who: All First Responders and Your Family Members
What: Online discussion of everyday wellness challenges and resilience strategies
EDITORS NOTE: Guest contributor Sean Peterson is a patrolman with the Taunton Police Department in Southeastern Massachusetts and a member of the regional Critical Incident Stress Management team. He is also the owner and performance director at Chaos Fitness.
I sat down to write this in the wake of New York City Police Department’s ninth suicide this year. The current Blue H.E.L.P. statistics stand at 131 suicides on the year, with four months to go. Protesters are literally begging police to commit suicide in Portland, Oregon. With what feels like everyone and everything against us, how do we rise above the darkness? Below I have outlined some thoughts and ideas surrounding mental and physical health we first responders can easily employ in such trying times.
A Physical and Mental Approach
“Combat” or “Square” Breathing
Here’s the simple process…
1. Intently breath in with strong focus- slowly counting 1, 2, 3, 4
2. hold that breath counting 1, 2, 3 ,4
3. slowly and consistently exhale that breath 1, 2, 3, 4
Simply put, combat/square breathing is an effective way to calm the nervous system. It is a very basic introduction to the world of mindfulness, creating space between ourselves and our reactions. It brings our focus to the present moment by concentrating our attention on our breathing, allowing us to slow things down for a while, so our bodies can catch up. Consider implementing this technique to offset the adrenaline spikes and stressors associated with hot calls, inter-department nonsense and the obstacles of everyday life. The beauty of this technique is… Continue reading
Last year was the first year that the number of reported law enforcement suicides exceeded the number of Line of Duty Deaths. It’s happening again this year.
As of September 9, 2019 Blue H.E.L.P. has verified 142 suicides while the NLEOMF has only reported 83 Line of Duty Deaths.
So what are you willing to do to stop this problem from happening at your agency?
Do you have a suicide prevention program in your agency?
Well, you no longer have an excuse for not having a program. With a 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 page.
Recently, we were in Washington D.C. attending a banquet called Honoring the Service of Law Enforcement Officers Who Died by Suicide. This first time banquet was held in conjunction with National Police Week and was sponsored by BLUE H.E.L.P. Its purpose was to honor and recognize the service of offices who made that fateful decision and their survivors. It is Blue HELP’s mission to put names and faces to the men and women of Law Enforcement whose emotional injuries become too much to bear. Although the number of Law Enforcement personnel who take their own lives typically exceeds… Continue reading
How do you handle that one guest that just will not leave? I recently heard a definition for what trauma is. Trauma was defined as: when you leave the scene, but the scene does not leave you. That definition resonated with me. How many calls did I leave that did not leave me?
I know we all have scenes and calls that have not left us. Some are years old. Some are obvious. The larger scenes and the obviously tragic calls stay with us. It is expected. In my department, certain calls are expected to cause trauma such as an officer involved shooting or a line of duty death.
When something like that happens, peer support is automatically activated and… Continue reading
A just-released White Paper on Mental Health and Suicide among First Responders commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation examines mental illness among police officers and firefighters, who commit suicide at a higher rate, and have PTSD and depression as much as 5 times higher… Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Joe is a faculty member of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and recently published this article on CalibrePress.com. We are honored that he is sharing it with us as well.
Nobody leaves police work the same person as when they entered it. Moreover, being a law enforcement officer can either be the best or worse job you’ve ever had.
Like the rest of you, I’ve watched with interest the latest assaults and criticisms of police officers. After reflecting back on 38 years of police work, it now seems public sentiment is supportive of those who are seeking to restrict the ability of many police officers to protect society. The general public has little or no concept of the experiences or emotions that police officers contend with throughout their careers.