What Can We Do To Better Help One Another?

I read two very interesting articles today and I want to hear your opinion.

The first was something that someone sent me on Social Media entitled Diary of a Suicidal Cop

The second as an article posted by the National Center for PTSD entitled Help Someone You Love on PTSD Awareness Day. (Today is National PTSD Awareness Day – see below for links and resources).

I’d like you to read both and then share your comments here about how we can better serve our brothers and sisters behind the badge.

We should not have to Suffer In Silence!

When I read the Diary of a Suicidal Cop, I am saddened, I am moved and I can readily identify with lots of the feelings, but that still doesn’t mean we can’t help those who need it most… Continue reading

Today is PTSD Awareness Day in the United States

PTSDawareness2016graphic

WHY SHOULD YOU CARE ABOUT PTSD AWARENESS DAY?

We should care about our mental health and the effects of PTSD because law enforcement is a high-risk, high-stress career that exposes all of us to excessive amounts of trauma and tragedy and we ALL need to learn that we can’t cope with all that negative stuff just by surprising it.  Good mental health, like good physical health doesn’t come automatically, you have to work to build strength in both areas and taking care of your emotional Self is as important as taking care of your physical Self.  When you do become injured physically or emotionally it helps if you understand the issues surrounding your injury and know about your treatment options.  Learning about PTSD and other issues that can challenge your mental health can be as important as learning about physical conditions like back injuries and the preventative strategies that can help mitigate those injuries.

In their section on PTSD Basics, the National Center for PTSD operated by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs says “After a trauma or life-threatening event, it is common to have reactions such as upsetting memories of the event, increased jumpiness, or trouble sleeping. If these reactions do not go away or if they get worse, you may have Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a… Continue reading

PTSD Can Attack Years Later by Allen Kates

Jonathan-FigueroaPTSD Can Attack Years Later
Even With No Previous Symptoms

EDITORS NOTE: This article has been graciously provided by Allen R. Kates, BCECR, MFAW the Author of CopShock, Second Edition: Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

“I can’t eat, I can’t sleep, I can’t think,
I feel sick. I can’t do this anymore.”

Can you develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) months or even years after a traumatic event like 9/11? Without showing any previous symptoms?

There are studies of World War II veterans and victims of motor vehicle accidents that say Yes.

This phenomenon is called “delayed onset PTSD,” according to the therapist’s diagnostic bible known as the DSM-IV-TR. It states that symptoms first appear at least six months after the traumatic event. That could mean months or even years later.

Yet some mental health professionals argue that the individual must have had symptoms early on, but didn’t recognize them. They also suggest that the PTSD sufferer delayed getting help for months or years, not that the PTSD itself was delayed.

Nevertheless, many law enforcement officers with no obvious previous symptoms do develop PTSD months or even years after a traumatic event.

As an example of delayed onset PTSD, here is the story of a police officer that developed the disorder five years after 9/11 and what he did about it… Continue reading

The Importance of Developing Resilient Law Enforcement Officers

Can A Career In Law Enforcement Be More Than Just Dangerous, Can It Be Toxic?

The importance of developing resilient law enforcement officers is something that we all must work toward. Many in law enforcement suffer in silence from the hidden dangers and toxic nature of this career. Many allow the negative effects of this profession to undermine their abilities to maintain their composure, control anger, fear and frustration and offset the sadness and depression all influenced by the tragedy and trauma they endure. They struggle to maintain their physical, emotional and spiritual health as all the negative things they see every day slowly erode their ability to perform their jobs at the required high level of performance.

We want to help you or partner with you to fix this problem. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute is ready to help you build individual and agency resilience and we are here to partner with you to build a strong and positive law enforcement wellness culture. We have initiated several excellent training programs and research projects and we are looking several strong partners to begin long-term law enforcement training and research relationships.

STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM:

Current news reports are rife with stories about issues of police officer suicides, PTSD, depression, alcohol problems, citizen complaints, excessive force, police misconduct and “cultures of aggression”. The problems are serious and the solutions all require strategies of building integrity, professionalism along with mental and emotional strength.

The challenge facing the future of our law enforcement profession centers not around the question of how our officers are dying but, rather more importantly, how they are suffering?

Challenges like police officer suicide, fatigue, depression and PTSD are serious problems. A growing body of research on law enforcement professionals seems to indicate that this profession is very toxic with side-effects causing an increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancer and even a lower than normal life expectancy. If you include other worries like alcohol and drug abuse, depression, relationship problems, domestic violence, anger management, financial mismanagement, and other issues that affect officers, on and off duty, then you might even see signs of a crisis.

We should also be asking how effective and professional our law enforcement officers can be while… Continue reading

Interview with Carolyn Whiting the Co-author of “The Crazy Lives of Police Wives”

CrazyLivesOfPoliceWivesCoverIn May we published an article written by Carolyn Whiting the co-author of “The Crazy Lives of Police Wives” and I asked her if she would sit down and speak with CopsAlive.com about the book and her experiences as a former police officer and police wife.

Carolyn Whiting was a police officer for six years and she met Bob, her husband of twenty five years, while working in the same Police department. Carolyn retired due to a back injury and has been a housewife for the past twenty two years while her husband continues to work at the same department where they met. He has over thirty six years in law enforcement. Carolyn has a BA in Geography and was halfway through her MBA when she left graduate school to pursue her life-long dream of being a Police Officer, a decision she has not regretted.

The book is available at Amazon.com in both a paperback and Kindle version as well as at Barnes & Noble in paperback and for the nook.

Carolyn told me that the idea for the book came about after a discussion she had 3 or 4 years ago with… Continue reading

PTSD Awareness Day 2014

In honor of U.S. National PTSD Awareness Day please visit the website of the National Center for PTSD to learn more about this disorder. PTSD Awareness Day is part of U.S. National PTSD Awareness Month which was created to bring awareness to this psychological disorder.

Their concept is simple: Raise PTSD Awareness

Learn. Connect. Share.
Learn: PTSD treatment can help
Connect: Reach out to someone
Share: Spread the word

Our Law Enforcement Survival Institute, and CopsAlive.com recommendation is to consider a four-part approach to encouraging the emotional well-being or the people in your law enforcement agency:

1. Learn all you can about PTSD using some of our recommended links below and the hold a discussion at your department using our 10-Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide on the Police PTSD Paradox CLICK HERE to download the discussion guide.

2. Initiate Police Psychologist Jack Digliani’s “Make It Safe” Initiative that promotes making it safe for officers to ask for psychological support
CLICK HERE to learn more about the initiative on Jack Digliani’s website

CLICK HERE to download Jack Digliani’s Implementation Guide for the “Make It Safe” Initiative

CLICK HERE to download a poster/info sheet about the “Make It Safe” Initiative.

3. Publicize the Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders
Add the number into your contact list 1-206-459-3020 and publicize it around your agency.
CLICK HERE to visit their website and learn more about their great work

CLICK HERE to download the Safe Call Now Brochure

4. Start or recommit to a Proactive Peer Support program within your department. Our belief at CopsAlive.com is that Peer Support should be formalized and encouraged throughout the agency or department and should be a proactive initiative where Peer Support Team members regularly check-in with their peers rather than waiting from someone to approach them.
CLICK HERE to download Psychologist Jack Digliani’s Peer Support

CLICK HERE to download Peer Support Guidelines as published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police in 2011

If you would like to learn more about Police PTSD… 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

Coping With On-The-Job Stress and Injuries

How many current and former law enforcement officers are out there suffering with mental and physical injuries; and how do we help them? Listen to our interview with a former officer who talks about his battles with PTSD and the injuries that forced his retirement.

Recently I had a chance to have a very candid discussion with “M” a retired officer from a mid-sized police department in the eastern United States.. “M” asked that I not use his name to protect his privacy, but he had some interesting things to say about his struggle with PTSD and the injuries that forced him to leave the job he loved.

You can listen to our… Continue reading

Today is PTSD Awareness Day

Today is PTSD Awareness Day in the United States.  Please visit the website for the National Center for PTSD to learn more about this terrible disorder that affects many law enforcement officers around the world.

Click on these links to learn more:
http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/ptsd_awareness_month.asp
http://www.ptsd.va.gov/about/ptsd-awareness/12_ways_to_help.asp

An important question for us is how many of us in law enforcement have the symptoms… Continue reading

Do You Have PTSD?

Do you have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder?  It’s alarming how many people in law enforcement may be suffering with it.  I know that when I took a PTSD indicator survey two years after I retired I scored a lot higher than I had expected. I’ve read lots of conflicting statistics about how many police officers have or could have the symptoms of PTSD, but statistics can be misleading just as much as ignorance of the issues of mental wellness.  Some of you may not meet the criteria for the diagnosis but are still suffering from the effects of excessive or un-managed stress.

The important question is how many of us in law enforcement have the symptoms of PTSD or other types of distress and those symptoms are causing problems with our work or home life. More importantly how many of us are not working to manage these problems because of fear of losing a job or being rejected as weak by our peers.

Get Help Now – Call “Safe Call Now” it’s confidential 206-459-3020

What is PTSD?

A brief description of the diagnostic criteria… Continue reading