Showing posts with label crisis intervention. Show all posts
Showing posts with label crisis intervention. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

PTSD needs crisis intervention now

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 29, 2022

Some people think that crisis intervention is some kind of new thing. Then again, some people don't think it is worth the time or effort either. Aside from having been certified in it by the International Fellowship of Chaplains, I am also a survivor of it many times.

First here is a brief history of it. The word crisis comes from the Greek word, Krisis from
A crisis is a difficult or dangerous time in which a solution is needed — and quickly. For example, the crisis caused by a natural disaster might inspire you and your friends to make a donation.

The noun crisis comes from the Latinized form of the Greek word krisis, meaning "turning point in a disease." At such a moment, the person with the disease could get better or worse: it's a critical moment. Think of a celebrity whose recent antics generate headlines like "Rock Star in Crisis" — that person needs help that may or may not be sought. At the moment of crisis, things are unstable and maybe even dangerous.

Trauma is also a Greek word that means wound. When we're discussing PTSD it literally means after trauma. Connect that to the word crisis meaning turning point and you have, not only the definition of it, you have the solution.

Crisis Intervention goes back to the 1940s and '50s.


Definition of Crisis
The origins of crisis theory are usually attributed to Lindemann's classic study of grief reactions. LINDEMANN(1944) established the basic framework for defining the symptomatology of a crisis. He reported on the evaluation and treatment of 101 persons who had experienced a recent death of a close relative, a number of whom were connected to the victims of the Boston's Coconut Grove Club fire. He observed that acute grief was a normal reaction to a distressing situation and noted that such reaction presented some characteristic features that appeared to form a distinct syndrome.

According to Lindemann, persons experiencing acute grief display one or more of the following symptoms:
1. somatic distress;
2. preoccupation with the image of the deceased;
3. guilt,
4. hostile reactions, and
5. loss of patterns of conduct.
Sometimes the person experiencing crisis of bereavement may have distorted or delayed grief reactions. Lindemann also stated that the grief work inclu- des achieving emancipation from the deceased, readjustment to the environment in which the deceased is missing and formation of new relationships. His contribution has been considered the starting point for the development of crisis theory.

While the origins of crisis theory are attributed to Lindemann, the work of Gerald Caplan and his colleagues at Harvard University provided the foundations for the development of crisis intervention theory and practice. Caplan's interest in crises resulted from his work with families immigrating to Israel following World War 11. Caplan has pro-vided various definitions of crisis (1964, 1974): he considers that a crisis is provoked when a person faces a problem for which he appears not to have an immediate solution and that is for a time insurmountable through the utilization of usual methods of problem-solving. A period of upset and tension follows during which the person makes many attempts at the solution of the problem.

 (Please read the whole article.)

So why isn't it being done? Why is so much time wasted belittling survivors instead of helping them get the help they need? Because if the answer isn't easy, no one wants to do the work.

That was obvious when all the groups popped up all over the country, speaking out to the rest of the world devoting time, energy, and funding to raising awareness that veterans were committing suicide, instead of including the millions of others doing the same. They reduced this heartbreaking outcome for many survivors that survived the event that caused PTSD, but could not survive surviving itself.

With PTSD Awareness Month coming to an end, you'd think that this would have been a topic worth covering. So why wasn't it? Not enough people know about it. It is one of the biggest reasons why I made most of the characters in The Lost Son Alive Again series Chaplains!

Surviving trauma is a turning point into crisis. It is at that time you want someone there to help you make the right turn toward healing ASAP!

If you are a police officer, you may have heard something ridiculous like, "you let your job get to you" as if you are supposed to not let what you see bother you at all. It all bothered you enough in the first place that you decided to take the job to prevent as much as you could knowing you'd be exposed to all of the dangers that came with the job. You'd think your superiors would be more understanding of that fact since that was probably the same reason they became officers too.

If you are a veteran or currently in the military, you may have heard, "you didn't train right" because they were told residency training would help you toughen your brain. They say things like that because they are not capable of admitting the training they touted as so successful did not work! If it did when they started it, suicide would have gone down, and not increased.

If you have PTSD from any other cause, you may have head people tell you, "get over it" or "let it go" as if you are choosing to let it hang onto you.

What if right, after you survived, someone came over to you, and was there to show you the way to begin to heal as a survivor instead of making you feel as if what it is doing to you is your fault?

While First Responders help you survive the event itself, Chaplains help you begin to take the next turn toward healing instead of suffering.

If you haven't heard about Chaplains before don't feel bad. I sent the first editions of The Lost Son and Alive Again to a psychologist I know to review them. He really liked the story and said it flowed but he didn't know Chaplains were actually out there in the real world doing the work we did.

This is from Advent Health
What Does a Chaplain Do?
A chaplain is a certified clergy member who provides spiritual care for individuals in a non-religious organization, rather than a church congregation. Chaplains can work in government roles and serve members of the military in different locations. They can serve patients in healthcare or hospice facilities. Working in police departments, fire departments, and prisons is also common for chaplains.

Since chaplains are ordained ministers, they can officiate ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. They can lead baptism services and provide final rites for patients who are passing away. Chaplains can also take on the role of a spiritual leader for individuals who do not belong to a specific religious community."" Rather than preaching messages directed toward one religious group, chaplains lead non-denominational religious services that can benefit individuals from a variety of religious or spiritual backgrounds. Chaplains who hold positions at different institutions can also minister to staff members. For example, chaplains at hospitals can provide spiritual care to nurses, doctors, and administrators, as well as to patients and their families.
This is from Franciscan Friars
Chaplains minister to people in illness and death, counseling those who are having their worst days, many with loneliness and depression. Their work encompasses being compassionate to people of all faiths, in various stages of spiritual development, and even to those who have turned their backs on God or blame him for their illness.

Often, they minister not just to patients, but to entire families. And because patients are discharged so quickly from hospitals today, chaplains are always ministering to a new set of people. They must work quickly, always on their feet, as they walk the hospital halls seeing new patients.

Yet this is how the IFOC explains Chaplains

What does being a Chaplain mean?
Minister in areas of critical incident stress, grief and loss, trauma, and stress management
Provide counsel, education, advocacy, life-improvement skills, and recovery training
Build a bridge between the secular and spiritual environments of community life"
Bring life-changing service to every sector of community life, such as health and welfare, education, transitional living, emergency service, and governmental support.

As you can see, even with different groups, the common theme is that Chaplains are in the community, where the greatest need is.

Now, some people fear the Chaplain showing up will judge them or try to convert them. Using myself as an example, I drink, smoke, and swear, so I am far from perfect. If you read this site, you know how I feel about a lot of the nonsense going on over people that forget their right to believe what they choose, does not remove the rights of others to do the same. Sadly, you may run into some more interested in doing what they want, instead of doing what you need based on where you are spiritually and emotionally.;

Lumping all Chaplains in the same pile is like piling up all Christians with the fraction self-proclaiming the moral high ground of "pro-life" when in fact what they do with the living proves they are only pro-birth.

There is a long list of Christians that believe all of us are given free will by God and it is up to us to choose what is right for us. No one has the right to use their free will to remove it from others. Most of us know that we are not there to convert anyone. We are only there to help those in need of what they are in need of and most of the time, they need someone to listen to them.

From The Lost Son Alive Again
Mandy's notes
Chris was sorting out more of Mandy’s notes when he came across her notes about him.
Chris Papadopoulos: multiple traumas, war, abuse, domestic violence, a survivor of attempted murder, betrayal, but above all, lost his sense of purpose doing the only job he believed he was born to do as a reporter and attempted suicide.
Chris just left and I am praying for him. It is almost as if those last 7 years were punishment for him. The night of the 7th anniversary of the bomb blast he survived, he struggled between regretting he survived and being grateful for being saved. Regret was winning.
He held a gun in his hands as the two opposing sides were arguing within him. He survived the bomb but saw it as the beginning of his punishment. All that came afterward, in his mind, was all his fault. The more he blamed himself, the more he destroyed himself. His wife abusing him was his fault. Losing his job was his fault. Having to go back to Salem, broke and feeling like a failure was his fault. He couldn’t see that while he did make choices in his life, some were forced on him. If his wife loved him and supported him, he may have gotten help. If his boss valued him and had compassion, he may have supported Chris and got him into counseling.
There is so much he does not understand about forgiveness and how God forgives him because he cannot forgive himself. I pray he can do that soon and realize while he forgives others, he must forgive himself as well. He cannot change anything that has already happened. All he can do is learn from it and use the power he does have over defining the rest of his life.
Chris was supposed to become a priest but now he can become a minister to millions who feel as if there is no place for them in churches. His gifts are writing and a curious mind. He has compassion and understanding of what this spiritual pain feels like. Now he knows what healing feels like and can give hope to others that they can heal as well. They will know God hears their cries, forgives them when they blame Him for their suffering, and holds His arms out to them. He waits to welcome His lost children back to their Father’s home and see that they were never really alone.
In a way, one more indication that God sets our purpose inside of our souls, and sometimes, He has to come up with plan B to get us there. The key is always if we choose to follow where He leads or not. People that listen, find inner peace no matter what they face. Those who do not, are in turmoil. I can’t stop thinking about Jesus and how the story of one life never ended. What He left us still spreads across the world. I have a feeling that the story of Chris’s life will never really end. We are all never-ending stories of the life we lived.

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Saved from suicide atop Bethlehem’s Steel Stacks

21 hours as a crisis negotiator atop Bethlehem’s Steel Stacks
By Sara K. Satullo
July 21, 2019
Through it all, they just kept talking to 25-year-old Jonathan David Wallace, letting him know they were ready when he wanted to talk or come down. Authorities have said they believe Wallace was suicidal.

Kurt Bresswein | For

Over nearly 22 hours last weekend, the Bethlehem police crisis negotiation team’s delicate work played out hundreds of feet in the air above the city as negotiators tried to convince a 25-year-old man to come down from a beam atop the iconic and deteriorating former Steel blast furnaces.
As Wallace paced atop the SteelStacks shouting unintelligibly, police used a drone to capture a photo of the Berks County man and harnessed the power of social media to identify him by posting the photo to the department’s official Facebook page.

With the help of the Allentown police negotiation team, they worked in two-hour shifts, first through the dark of night on an unsafe structure and into Saturday’s unrelenting summer sun as temperatures climbed to 86 degrees and the rusting stacks became broiling hot.
Kott found herself several hours away at a family wedding as the situation unfolded in Bethlehem, assisting the team remotely as they tried to identify the climber, while Detective Moses Miller, the assistant team leader, took charge of the scene. (Kott declined to get into certain specifics about Wallace’s situation due to the pending criminal case.)

Wallace was taken to St. Luke’s hospital on an involuntary mental health commitment. He was arraigned on Thursday on a felony count of risking catastrophe and related charges and jailed after he could not post bail.
read it here

Thursday, February 28, 2019

UCF police officer honored for responding to 100 crisis calls

UCF police officer honored for responding to 100 crisis calls: 'He's part counselor, part detective'

Orlando Sentinel
Michael Williams
February 28, 2019

In 2010, the University of Central Florida Police Department detained 30 people under the Baker Act, a state law that allows law enforcement to temporarily hold those who are deemed a threat to themselves or others.
Detective Luis Rivera (left) shakes hands with Chief Carl Metzger during the University of Central Florida Police Department Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019. Rivera won CIT Officer of the Year, and Officer of the Year. (Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda / Orlando Sentinel)

By 2017, that number was 118.

Whether that increase is due to the proliferation of social media or typical student stresses, campus police officers are routinely expected to juggle being a cop as well as a therapist. The stakes are high: in December, a 24-year-old student took his life on campus. During two other incidents in the past year, students faced charges after illegally possessing or modifying high-powered weapons.

In response to that demand, the department recently assigned Detective Luis Rivera to be UCFPD’s first “Persons of Concern” detective.

Rivera — who has handled more than 100 cases over the past year for students who have been suicidal, mentally ill or even homicidal — was honored as UCFPD’s Officer of the Year during an awards ceremony Wednesday. He was also named the Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year for the entire Central Florida region.

“He’s part counselor, part detective — in some cases he has prevented individuals from hurting themselves, and in some cases he’s prevented individuals from hurting other people right here at UCF,” Chief Carl Metzger said. “ … We’re going to take a sample of his blood and clone him, because we need about three Luises.”
Others honored at the ceremony include a group who went to the Florida Panhandle to assist with Hurricane Michael recovery efforts; an officer who developed a bond with a student who posted a picture holding a gun to his head on social media; and Officer Victoria Scott and Sgt. Anthony Chronister, who saved the life of a student who threatened to jump off a parking garage last year.
read more here

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"I just tried to be there,” Chaplain Ron Link explains life as responding to responders

Always on call: Meet the chaplains who assist sheriff's office during crises

Dawson County News
Jessica Taylor
Feb. 26, 2019
Each year they receive 40 hours of training from the Georgia Sheriffs' Association to maintain their certification, which they said reinvigorates and motivates them to keep answering the calls from dispatch.

Dawson County Sheriff's Office Chaplains Ron Link and Dr. Charles Blackstock. - photo by Jessica Taylor 
"I just tried to be there,” Ron Link said as he recounted his first call from dispatch. “I didn’t know what I was supposed to do but it turns out I was doing what I was supposed to,"

Link became a chaplain for the Dawson County Sheriff's Office three years ago, and vividly remembers his first call to a scene: a devastating house fire.

Dr. Charles Blackstock, the lead chaplain who has served in the role for 10 years, was in Atlanta, leaving Link with the responsibility of responding to the call alone.

"I had no formal sheriff’s office training. I just went out there to try to be a help," Link said. "It was kind of overwhelming. It was a really bad scene."

It was a house fire, and someone’s significant other was inside. All Link could do was stand outside with the husband, comforting him as authorities conducted their investigation.

"I didn’t know what the procedures and processes were. I didn’t know who to talk to. All I knew was there was somebody there that was in real, emotional crisis and so I went over and stayed with him until his family arrived," Link said.

It was his first taste of what his new role as a chaplain entailed.

For Blackstock, a pastor at Lighthouse Baptist Church, stepping into the role was a little bit easier. With his ministerial background, he was rather comfortable with providing faith-based support to the sheriff's office staff and the community.
As chaplains, Blackstock and Link voluntarily assist the sheriff's office by delivering death notices, consoling emotional victims at crime scenes and emergencies and supporting the sheriff's office staff through counseling and helping officers cope with traumatic events.

How they go about providing assistance from scene to scene varies with every call.

"You never know what you’re going to get called on to do," Blackstock said.
read more here

Why is this important?

In 2008, I became a Chaplain with the IFOC and received Certification in Crisis Intervention, among other things, plus an award for my work focusing on PTSD prevention for first responders. For the next two years, I trained in many more programs to help avoid the worst results of their service from taking hold. While I no longer wear the badge, I carry the valuable lessons I learned with me everyday.

Why would I do that?
I am a ten time survivor of facing death during traumatic events, including when my ex-husband decided he wanted to kill me, and almost did.

Throughout my life, my family was doing the intervention without knowing it. Sure, I had nightmares, flashbacks, and all the other symptoms of PTSD, but it did not have a chance to take hold because it was addressed right away.

Through the research I had done for a couple of decades, I learned that there is a 30 golden window to battle trauma and take back control of my life. The symptoms had started to go away within the first month, and I was on the road to recovery.

Every now and then, things pop into my mind, but the memories no longer control my life. 

The worst one was when my ex stalked me, ignored the restraining order and every time I heard a muscle car engine rev, it sent a electrical charge through my body and I wanted to run. That went on, even after moving to Florida, far from where he lived, and long after I married my current husband.

When my cousin sent me a copy of his obituary, I stopped freaking out from the sound and began to enjoy the noise again. That comes in handy considering what I do on PTSD Patrol with car shows...although I still do not like my first reaction when I come across a Cutlass. I take a deep breath and move on to interesting pictures to take.

Knowing what all those times did to me, it was easy to understand what it was like for all the veterans and responders were dealing with, and being a family member of a Vietnam veteran, I also understood what it was like on this side of the trauma.

All of this goes into what I have done with my life since 1982, and what I do everyday. So if you find some comfort on this page, gain some knowledge, or decide that you can just copy it, now you know what is behind all of it.

Healing requires what Chaplains do because they are trusted with being able to listen without judging, comfort when needed and let you know that minute you start to address what happened, that is the minute you begin to heal as a survivor of it. 

First I listen. Most of the time, it is over a cup of coffee or at an event when someone sees what I am wearing. A shirt with PTSD Patrol or my Point Man vest, lets them know I am someone willing to listen.

Then I guide them to understanding what PTSD is and let them know how to kick it out of their new normal as a survivor. And is time to work on the spiritual side of healing so they can come out on the other side even better than they were before. You know, like me! 

None of what I do would have worked had I not had the life I had...or learned to become a leader to healing those who risk their lives to save people like me all the time. 

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Social workers placed aboard ambulances in Las Vegas

Las Vegas mental health Crisis Response Team sees success with new strategy

By: Joe Bartels
Dec 08, 2018
"We are outperforming expectations by some distance, and I think we are showing a good cost-savings to the state and we're going great care for patients," said Asst. Fire Chief Jon Stevenson with Las Vegas Fire and Rescue.

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — There is a small crisis response team that is making a big impact when it comes to the emerging mental health crisis across Las Vegas.

"It can be tense," said Amanda Jurden, a licensed clinical social worker.
"Usually, we just try and talk to the person, kind of gauge where they're at, find out, number 1, are they open to talking to you, are they going to be voluntary patient?" explained Jurden.

Jurden is now on the front lines of the Crisis Response Team and rides aboard an ambulance to make an on-scene patient assessment during a mental health crisis incident.

"They can be angry, they can be agitated, they can be under the influence, all of those things," said Jurden.

"But at the end of the day we just want to see if they are willing to engage with us, and cooperate in some form or fashion," said Jurden.

The Crisis Response Team was organized in April 2018 with the goal of connecting those in mental distress with available resources while reducing the burden on local emergency rooms.
read more here

Monday, June 11, 2018

Is Awareness Fueling Suicide Triggers?

Is Awareness Fueling Suicide Triggers?
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 11, 2018

Right now there are more people talking about suicides, and more people trying to prevent their own, at the same time more are doing it? Who does this make sense to? If it make sense to anyone at all, they need to seek professional!

A report on NBC about the rise in calls to crisis lines mention this part.
Draper said the reason for the uptick is two-fold: a celebrity suicide can trigger suicidal thoughts in people who might already vulnerable to them, and publicizing the phone number to call for support increases odds that people will call.
Is it good that people are calling for help, or is it bad that with so many looking for help, seeing the rise is suicides on the flip side is worse?

How many times have you seen a commercial with happy people as the announcer talks about the medical condition making their lives miserable, followed by warnings of how the medication being advertised could make them suicidal? How many times does it take for reporters and researchers to begin to link any of them to the rise in suicides across American?

How many times do you have to read reports on opioid abuse before researchers share their warnings with reporters working on suicides?

How many times does it take before reporters understand the effects of "Lariam, an anti-malarial drug" connected to suicides as well as murders?

How many times does it take for reports from the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to release the suicide numbers before reporters actually understand they are two totally different reports?

How many times does it take for the reporters in this country to correct the false narrative of awareness on anything when they have been oblivious for the last decade?

The awareness folks like to trim everything down to a soundbite, a slogan, a stunt, as long as they do not have to answer any questions. Reporters have been all too willing to oblige them. 

Are these "awareness" risers triggering veterans instead of helping them? I mean, what it looks like when you are on the other end of the topic, knowing they don't seem to offer hope while feeding despair, is they really don't care at all.

When someone offers understanding, like on the Crisis lines, then you believe you do matter and that gives you an understanding that you are not only worth helping, but had someone to help you.

So when does the public get the dire warnings of suicides the same way drug companies are required to do when selling their products?

How about, make that giving, hope back to those who have lost it? Isn't that what gets you up every morning with hope that it will be better than yesterday was?

Florida went backwards on Suicide Prevention

Florida went backwards on Suicide Prevention
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 11, 2018
Suicide rates up 10 percent in Florida, CDC study shows
Suicide rates rose more 10 percent in Florida over a 17-year period, a new government study showed Thursday.
"Rates were up 10.6 percent from 1999 to 2016 according to the report from the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention."

OK and yet, after being in Florida for 14 years, trained by most of the "experts" offering Crisis Intervention Training, topped off with being in this work for over 36 years, I am left with a gnawing thought. With all we've know for all they years we've known it, how has it gotten worse?

How is it that with so many running around Florida, and the rest of the country, screaming about suicide awareness, have not managed to learn anything before they decided to share their stunning lack of knowledge?

It isn't that we lack real experts. You know, like the ones who taught the classes I took, wrote the manuals I read and yes, gave presentations on what to do and when to do it.

Unfortunately, I have been to too many events where the self-claimed experts did not know much at all. Like the ones running around screaming about veterans committing suicide, using an "easy number to remember" as if that was all they were. Apparently these folks did not think they needed to know anything beyond what a reporter put into a headline.

Well, the above is a great example of what happens when people preach what they did not take the time to learn. 

Volusia County suicide rates continue to exceed state levels
Daytona Beach News Journal
Seth Robbins
June 11, 2018

“Take this with you, and take care of each other,” he said. “We have to watch out for each other, and we need to keep our eyes peeled and ears pricked to any signs of PTSD.”

Salvatore Gintoli spoke frankly to law enforcement and other first responders about mental illness and suicide — issues that often go undiscussed but are widespread.

Gintoli, a senior director of crisis services at Stewart-Marchman-Act Behavioral Healthcare, was leading a course that aims to provide the skills to recognize mental health issues and reduce the stigma that surrounds them.

“People need to understand that mental illness and substance abuse are not the result of character flaws or personal weakness,” he said. “These are medical illnesses that are treatable.”

A report released last week by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention was a stark reminder that suicide remains an intractable public health crisis and that there is still much to be done in addressing mental illness within the U.S. According to the report, the suicide rate increased 25.6 percent nationwide from 1996 to 2016, with only one state — Nevada — seeing its rate fall. Florida’s suicide rate increased 10.6 percent, though most states saw larger jumps.

The numbers came out at the same time people were mourning the deaths of celebrity designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain, both of whom committed suicide. Their sudden deaths have received widespread attention, with fans of each expressing dismay and fond remembrances across social media.

“What happened is tragic,” said Kim Beck-Frate, licensed mental-health counselor in the traumatic loss program for Halifax Health Hospice of Volusia/Flagler.
read more here
So now were are left with veterans, first responders, families, all ready to accept the fact the jobs they decided to do could cost them their lives but end up facing the job itself was more dangerous off the clock and we wonder why. 

Too bad that I trained way back in 2008 to 2010 on how to help First Responders right there on the East Coast. 2008 with the International Fellowship of Chaplains, 2009 with Center for Disaster and Extreme Event Preparedness and a lot more conferences just like the one above. 

How is it that we seem to have gone backwards?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

First Responders Need to Learn PTSD is a Survivor Thing

PTSD Hits First Responders Harder
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 26, 2017

Suicide numbers edging up in Mass. on the Daily News out of Newburyport focused on a lot of details behind suicides. Within the article are the usual statistics, gender, age and means by which they ended their lives. 

"One thing, if anything, taken away from this article is this part. “They feel like they’ve lost all hope and they don’t have options. Sometimes just having someone on the phone to listen and talk to is enough to turn them around.” Sen. Barbara L’Italien.

When I trained as a Chaplain with the IFOC I focused on First Responders simply because, while civilians can be hit by PTSD from one event, they face it on a daily basis, actually subjecting themselves to what the rest of us avoid.

There are not enough people trying to take care of them. They get hit harder because they feel they are the ones who are supposed to be stronger, tougher than the rest of us, but what they do not realize is that at their core, they care more than the rest of us. 

Think about it. They are willing to die for each other and total strangers on a daily basis. When they are not facing the events that could end their lives, they are thinking about the ones that may come as much as they are remembering the ones that already happened.

Massachusetts is trying to do something about that.
One proposal, by Sen. Barbara L’Italien, D-Andover, focuses on law enforcement officers who, according to statistics, are more likely to commit suicide than be killed in the line of duty. The bill was filed on behalf of Janice McCarthy, an Andover women whose husband, Paul, a former state police captain, died from suicide in 2006. The bill would create a new training program for police to recognize signs of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal behavior.
One thing they can try to do is have more folks trained in helping the responders. It has to be specialized training and sanctioned by the Police and Fire Departments, because they are closed off to the rest of the population, wanting to take care of their own. This, most of the time, is beneficial, but when you are too close to those you need to help, that emotional connection tends to get in the way and adds a heavier burden to the caregivers.

As more and more people understand what PTSD is, more and more people are talking openly about it. There is power in the numbers but there is also a downside to it. Talking about it without investing the time in learning about it, has done more harm than good. It is great to care but when you don't care enough to learn first and act afterwards, you are part of the problem and one of the reasons they lose hope.

I hope this helps you understand what they need to be reminded of.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Man Shot By Police After Crisis Call Survived in San Antonio

Police: Man shot after pointing gun at officer
"They need to find a purpose. They need to find their passion again. Just like we had a mission while in uniform, they need to find that elsewhere.” Richard Delgado
Police: Man shot after pointing gun at officer (Photo: Sinclair Broadcast Group)
SAN ANTONIO -- Police say a man armed with a gun who was trying to commit suicide was shot by an officer at a North Side.

Police say the call came in some time before six Saturday morning from Ballerina Court, which is just off Wetmore Road.

"It was a call for a man attempting to commit suicide,” said Chief Williams McManus. “It was called in by his wife."

The 39-year old man, who officers say is a veteran, was in the backyard when police arrived.

“He was there with a gun to his head,” said McManus. “He put the gun down, picked it back up, and pointed it at the officers. The officer at that time felt compelled to fire in fear for his life."

The veteran was hit once in the arm but police say he is in good condition.
read more here

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Headway made on treatments for PTSD--Again

There seems to be a lot of history being repeated these days. You'd think with the ability to find facts with a few keystrokes, they would know what was already done and discover if it worked or not. After all, trauma connected to war was being studied over 100 years ago during WWI. Since the basic design of humans has not changed, the only thing researchers have learned in the last decade they could really label as new, are the brain scans showing PTSD as well as TBI the other invisible wound.
"In Israel, a 2011 study found early intervention following a trauma can help prevent the full onset of PTSD."
That was mentioned in the following article about treating trauma differently than they have in the past. But that wasn't new at all. In 2008 I was certified in Crisis Intervention as a Chaplain by the IFOC because I knew it worked and worked well.

Psychologist: Headway made on treatments for PTSD
Stars and Stripes
By Dianna Cahn
Published: December 13, 2015
Clinical psychologist, Dr. Alan Peterson, a professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio and a research scientist with the South Texas Veterans Health Care System, talks about the effects of the blast at a federal health conference in San Antonio on Dec. 2. DIANNA CAHN/STARS AND STRIPES
Before he launched into his lecture on the long-term consequences of “the blast,” Alan Peterson, a clinical psychologist, took a moment to pay tribute to his subjects — and to get his audience’s attention.

“This time of year, keep in mind, we have a lot of people who are deployed,” said Peterson, who is the behavioral medicine chief at the medical school of the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. “For our troops who are deployed, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and …”

“BOOM!” he said, in a sudden shout.

Beside him, images flashed across a screen: ripped, ragged limbs, pools of blood, furniture — and people — thrown like rag dolls.
Though many treatments might work, the departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs have sanctioned two of them for pervasive use: prolonged exposure therapy, in which a patient reviews the traumatic experience again and again until the event becomes historical and stops setting off triggers, and cognitive processing therapy, in which the patient reviews symptoms and accounts of the trauma and works to modify thoughts and beliefs related to it — more of an adaptation of perspective.

A 2012 study found 80 percent of civilians treated with these therapies were basically cured, and remained that way five years later.

But doctors have yet to conclude that it works as well on military veterans. Part of the problem, Peterson said, is that active-duty servicemembers don’t manage to show up for sessions during a 12-to-15-week period. Doctors are now trying compressed treatments, in which the sessions are daily for two weeks, rather than spread out over a longer period.
read more here

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Veteran's Unlawful-Search Suit Tossed in D.C.

Under the law is a requirement to report anyone who is a threat to themselves or others. That depends on how serious the observer thinks the situation is. Is there a need to act instantaneously? Most of the time, it is, because hindsight could end up coming too late to save a life. Veterans don't call the Suicide Hotline for fun. They call it out of desperation.

After tracking reports around the country, the fact is, when police officers are called, they usually end with officers having to explain why a call for help left a veteran in jail or dead.

In this case, the mental health worker did the right thing and so did the officers, for the most part, because the veteran is still alive and was taken to get the help he needed.
Veteran's Unlawful-Search Suit Tossed in D.C.
Courthouse News
August 27, 2015

(CN) - A veteran has no claims against Washington, D.C., police for searching his home, taking a grenade and several guns, leaving the door open, and letting his fish die, a federal judge ruled.Matthew Corrigan, a former D.C. resident and an Army reservist, phoned the National Suicide Hotline - though he believed he was calling the military's emotional-support hotline - on the night of Feb. 2, 2010, because "he was depressed and had not slept for several days," according to court records.

In response to questioning, Corrigan told a hotline employee that he was a veteran and owned firearms, but did not indicate that he planned to harm anyone or kill himself, he claims. Corrigan turned off his phone, took prescribed sleeping pills and fell asleep, according to his lawsuit.

Unbeknownst to Corrigan, the employee called 911 and reported an attempted suicide. Metropolitan police officers were sent to Corrigan's apartment around 11 p.m., where they reported a strong odor of natural gas, so they had the service cut off.

The reservist says he awoke at about 4 a.m. on Feb. 3, hearing his name being called over a bullhorn, and saw about eight cops in the back yard and 20 in the front, lit up by floodlights.

When he came outside at about 4:50 a.m. and locked his apartment, he refused to give the key to an officer, who said he did not "have time to play this constitutional bullshit. We're going to break down your door. You're going to have to pay for a new door," according to Corrigan's deposition testimony.

Officers then entered and reportedly found a military smoke grenade and whistler device. Corrigan claims police took him to a Veterans Affairs hospital, where he admitted himself for three days because weapons being pointed at him triggered "PTSD hyper-vigilance."
"Under the community caretaking, exigent circumstances, and emergency aid doctrines, Lt. Glover's orders to the [Emergency Response Team] and [Explosive Ordnance Division] Unit to enter without a warrant and search the plaintiff's apartment for people, threats, and hazardous materials were objectively reasonable and, therefore, did not violate the plaintiff's Fourth Amendment rights," Howell wrote.
read more here

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Minnesota Training For Veterans In Crisis Omits Older Veterans

There are times when I start reading an article thinking it will be a great thing to share. That is, until I read more and find a comment like this.
“The face of a veteran is very much different today than it was in the first gulf war or Vietnam,” retired Marine John Baker said.
The face of a young veteran is only different now because they are seen. They are not ignored. No one saw the Gulf War veterans when they came home falling apart. No one wanted to see the Vietnam veterans facing everything these younger ones suffer from. No one wanted to see them even though had it not been for them, there would be nothing available today.

The veterans of past wars in crisis faced off with police officers, but either they got shot or went to jail. There were no veterans courts trying to help them get the help they needed.

The things veterans face has not changed since the Revolutionary war. The attention they get has changed but as with most things, we only see what we want to and pay attention to those we value more. Pretty sad all the way around considering every generation should be valued and helped equally. Just because older veterans waited longer that does not mean we should ignore them now. This crisis training is already off to a bad start if they have the attitude this generation is any different from those who came before.
Minnesota Police Trained To Identify Veterans In Crisis
CBS Minnesota
Reg Chapman
August 7, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Some police officers across Minnesota are going through training on how to identify veterans in crisis.

The training is meant to help officers recognize and offer support for a growing number of returning war veterans who have post-traumatic stress disorder or a traumatic brain injury.

Officers from St. Paul, Minneapolis and Richfield police departments as well as University of Minnesota and Metro Transit officers took part in the training. Minnesota has the distinction of being home to the longest deployed national guard unit in the country.

Thousands of men and women have served multiple tours overseas and returned back to their hometowns in Minnesota.
read more here

Friday, July 31, 2015

Waco Looks At PTSD in Veterans and First Responders

This report says that research on First Responders with PTSD started recently but that report is wrong. It began years ago but acknowledging how long all of this has been going on would force folks to admit they didn't take it seriously enough when they had a chance to fix it fast.
Waco research facility takes aim at PTSD in first responders, veterans
KXXV News ABC 25
By Grant Hermes
Posted: Jul 29, 2015

Doctors at the Warrior Research Institute (WRI) said they've seen a clear link between traumatic situations experienced by first responders and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), similar to the way veterans develop the disorder.

According to the institute's director, Dr. Suzy Bird Gulliver, between nine and 13 percent of fire fighters experience some form of PTSD on the job. Gulliver focuses primarily on veterans and fire fighters, although said the research at WRI, in partnership with Baylor Scott and White healthcare, has begun to expand to police officers and paramedics.
read more here
KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

PTSD I Grieve

Friday, February 27, 2015

Will American Sniper Trial Feed PTSD Stigma or Will Reporters Do It?

'American Sniper' trial likely to increase stigma of PTSD but this has been brought up by reporters for a long time. No, not just since this trial but for decades. It seems they just keep making statements without noticing they are the ones feeding the stigma instead of helping to end it.
"The jury got it right — that helps to some degree to destigmatize PTSD," said Harry Croft, a San Antonio-based psychiatrist who evaluates veterans with post-traumatic stress. "The bad news is: The headlines before the trial was that PTSD will be used as a defense. Unfortunately, that's the message many people will remember."

Pathetic! I am so sick and tired of reporters spinning this instead of actually telling folks what is really going on. If veterans think this famous trial will feed the stigma, they need to actually stop reacting and start thinking.

When Vietnam veterans came home, like generations before them, combat tagged along for the rest of their lives. They were not about go quietly into the abyss most folks were ready to help them into. They were called crazy, druggies, along with baby killers plus a lot of other things not fit for publication. They turned around, fought every established veterans service organizations, every politician, every psychiatrists and reporter getting in their way. The battle they fought after they came home managed to save a lot more lives, not just for their own sake but for all generations of veterans and civilians alike.

Crisis Intervention Strategies, By Richard James, Burl Gilliland gives credit to where credit is due for what happens when all of us are faced with traumatic events. Support groups and crisis intervention specialists ready to help us right away. (Ok, so I am one of those responders. I was certified in programs from 2008 to 2010 when I took just about every class I could.) These steps were established simply because Vietnam veterans pushed for all the research.

Then there are the Veterans centers. Those started in the 70's as well. Vietnam veterans didn't have a choice. They were not welcomed by other veterans. They did it without the internet and Facebook.

It wasn't until the Vietnam Memorial Wall was built that they were finally being honored for their service.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial stands as a symbol of America's honor and recognition of the men and women who served and sacrificed their lives in the Vietnam War. Inscribed on the black granite walls are the names of more than 58,000 men and women who gave their lives or remain missing. Yet the Memorial itself is dedicated to honor the "courage, sacrifice and devotion to duty and country" of all who answered the call to serve during the longest war in U.S. history. The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund, Inc. is the 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization authorized by Congress in 1980 to fund and build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C. Incorporated on April 27, 1979 by a group of veterans led by Jan C. Scruggs, who was wounded and decorated for service in Vietnam, the organization sought a tangible symbol of recognition from the American people for those who served in the war.

By separating the issue of individuals serving in the military during the Vietnam era and U.S. policy carried out there, VVMF hoped to begin a process of national reconciliation. Two members of the U.S. Senate, Charles Mathias (R-Md.) and John Warner (R-Va.), took the lead in Congress to enact legislation providing three acres in the northwest corner of the National Mall as a site for the Memorial. It was dedicated on Nov. 13, 1982.

If the stigma is still strong then you can thank reporters for feeding it all these years.
This came out in 2009.
Some military commanders still stuck on stupid when it comes to PTSD

"Our goal is to eradicate the stigma," he said. "We're not there yet."

Encouraging more soldiers to seek help, and training leaders to spot signs of trouble, have taken on new urgency since the fatal shooting last Monday of five U.S. service members at a counseling center at Baghdad's Camp Liberty.

Army Sgt. John M. Russell has been charged with five counts of murder. He was finishing his third tour in Iraq and had been ordered to seek counseling at the center, the Army said.

Sergeants on their third or fourth assignments to Iraq or Afghanistan are more than twice as likely to suffer mental health problems as those on their first assignment to a combat zone, according an Army study last year.

You can also thank them for letting military leaders get away with claims without being challenged like the one General Ray Odierno made back in 2014,
"First, inherently what we do is stressful. Why do I think some people are able to deal with stress differently than others? There are a lot of different factors. Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations.

But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do. It built confidence in myself, and I believe that enables you to better deal with stress. It enables you to cope more easily than maybe some other people.

This pathetic attitude was carried over as the public was finally made aware of what was going on in Warrior Transition Units and those seeking help faced the ultimate betrayal.

Guess Odierno didn't remember Ty Carter or the Medal of Honor he had around his neck after he not only showed "intestinal fortitude" in combat but then had to show it even more with his battle to heal PTSD to the point where he went on a mission to have the "D" dropped from the term to help fight the stigma being fed by the military all these years after Vietnam Veterans fought to have it treated.
In the battle that earned him the nation's highest military honor, an outpost in Afghanistan's Nuristan Province was surrounded by almost 300 insurgents who opened fire with automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades the morning of Oct. 3, 2009. Fifty-three Americans were stationed there; eight were killed in battle, and 25 were wounded, including Carter, who suffered hearing loss, shrapnel injuries and a concussion.

Guess he forgot about Dakota Meyer and all the others over all these years coming out also with the Medal of Honor on their necks and trying to save lives proving that having PTSD was nothing to be ashamed of.

Guess he forgot about the Generals coming out admitting they struggled with PTSD and speaking up for soldiers with their own battles to heal and prove that it was ok to talk about PTSD.

The stigma of PTSD is alive because far too many people want it that way. If everyone understood what it was and how long it has been going on, then they'd all be fighting the right battles toward healing. But hey, why bother to point out that PTSD isn't just about veterans but because of them, civilians have treatment to recover from traumatic events as well?

UPDATE Example of Crisis Intervention teams and what they do.
Girl's police call exposes trail of death: 7 killed in 4 Missouri homes

Classes for the district's 1,000 students are in session Friday, in part to give them a sense of normalcy, he said.

"We do have counselors available, and other offers from other districts to help out. As a small town, we all cry together. My principals are all assessing the situation now, and we will make a determination on what to do next," Dill said.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Army Veteran Newport News Police Officer Andrew Gohn Prevented Suicide

Newport News officer stops suicide attempt [Warning: Graphic Content]
Daily Press
Sarah J Pawlowski
December 19, 2014

The man was lying on the sidewalk when officers arrived, an 8-inch butcher knife firmly pressed against his stomach. He was crying. He said he didn't deserve to live.
The incident happened at about 9 p.m. Dec. 9 alongside Jefferson Avenue near Oyster Point Road in Newport News.

Body-mounted cameras on officers recorded as Newport News police officer Andrew Gohn knelt to the ground. He asked the man about his problems and encouraged him to talk about his kids.
Gohn said the incident was somewhat personal to him. A former member of the U.S. Army, he decided to complete the advanced course because he witnessed the effects of post-traumatic stress disorder. A relative also committed suicide when he was a teen, he said.

He said he hopes people considering suicide will recognize it's not a solution.
read more here

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Army Doing Crisis Intervention For Soldiers with PTSD

It is amazing what you can find in articles. They should have done this a long time ago considering crisis intervention teams started because of research begun 40 years ago on Vietnam Veterans with PTSD.
San Antonio Iraq War Veteran Surprises NPR David Green
Texas Public Radio
Eileen Pace
May 13, 2014

Many of us start our day listening to Morning Edition, and we depend on getting the world’s news from Steve Inskeep, Renee Montagne, and David Greene.

But when Greene visited Texas Public Radio last week, he found out that often those listeners who are counting on him for the NPR perspective are very far from home.

It was a whirlwind around the TPR studios last week as we prepared for a visit from Greene and "Morning Edition" Executive Producer Tracy Wahl.

Then, to make a great visit from NPR folks even more meaningful, along came Victor Martinez.

This is what happened when Victor came into the office of TPR President Joyce Slocum, where Greene had been invited in for a special meeting.

“Victor, this is David Greene,” Slocum said.

“You’re David Greene?” Martinez said. “I saw you in the bathroom!”

Greene and the others in the room laughed and he said it was a great way to meet.

Martinez is a 26-year veteran who recently returned from Iraq, where he was assigned to the Army’s 785th Combat Operational Stress Control Unit, working crisis intervention with soldiers who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
read more here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Confession, I have Compassion Fatigue

Confession, I have Compassion Fatigue
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 12, 2014

I have not been diagnosed with Compassion Fatigue but I know enough about it to know what it is. It is a lot deeper than just burnout.

Most days I don't get dressed until noon. That is when I do not have a temp job to go to because PJs are a little too casual for business. I spend the first six hours reading, answering emails and posting articles I find.

Most of the time, they are as depressing as hell. Why people read Wounded Times considering what the subject matter is, is more of a testament about caring than anything else.

I am drawn to post about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. While most of the posts here are about Combat PTSD, I am reading everything on PTSD to help me. I don't have it but for years I searched for a reason that prevented me from becoming infected. To me that is what PTSD. Trauma hits from outside and that one event, or many piled up, ends up digging into the flesh, past bones and into the soul/spirit that lives in our heads.

The only thing I could figure on was talking about all of what happened with someone I trusted even though they didn't quite understand, usually giving really lousy advice, but I knew they cared about me. It helped every time.

I was just reading an article about compassion fatigue hitting recovery workers from Hurricane Sandy. One more topic not covered enough.

Dr. Paula Madrid, who has been in helping people cope with trauma since the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks, said compassion fatigue is more than just burnout. She said it can be defined as “the gradual lessening of compassion over time.”
This is something I know I have for sure and have had many, many times before. Each time it seems to be worse.

I can't remember how many times I just wanted to give up and stop thinking about all of this. Stop caring about veterans needing help and families needing help the way I did when no one was there over 30 years ago. I am back into the dark days because around noon, I have no energy left. I turn on the TV and usually fall asleep for an hour or so until I force myself to get up.

I left this comment
Wounded Times Blog • a few seconds ago − I work with veterans and families dealing with Combat PTSD. I know I have it. It is more than just burnout but most of the time people like me are not happy not helping. We do need rest but more we need support. Most of the people I know doing this type of work do it because they remember what it was like when no one was there to help them. I remember all too well. I lost count on how many times I felt like this but if it helps at all, it does lift. The weight does ease up. Take some time for yourself. Take a walk, go to a movie and spend time with family and friends. I shut off my computer at the same time every night and that is my time.
I just wish I could shut my brain off as well.

The good news is sooner or later something happens to restore hope. The problem is when I feel as if no one is listening to my prayers or no one really cares about what I do. I read about how bad things are across the country and remember what has happened over the last 30 years and then get angry, frustrated that so much has been forgotten and feel as if I am just wasting my time. Then I get an email from someone telling me I helped them and made a difference. Most of the time that is all a helper really needs to know because most of the time when they are helping, they are also suffering too.