Showing posts with label police peer support. Show all posts
Showing posts with label police peer support. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

‘Call for Backup’ before suicide creeps into their thoughts

Police, first responders urged to ‘Call for Backup’ before suicide creeps into their thoughts

News Herald
By Jackie Harrison-Martin
Aug 12, 2019
According to the program, people who choose suicide often keep up a “normal” appearance because they’ve hidden a lot of things away inside their own “hurt locker,” a personal “locker” where stress is stored and hidden.”

Far too many times, three words have been exceptionally difficult for police officers, firefighters and other first responders to say — “I need help.”

It has come at a high cost, and that is that is changing.

David Edwards is the founder and president of Call for Backup, a program focusing on the mental health for emergency and rescue personnel with the end goal being to reduce incidents of suicides.

He coordinates a two-day training class that gives first responders the tools needed to help recognize when they or one of their own is overwhelmed, detect when stress is building and make reaching out for help an easier stop.

It was Edwards, a Taylor resident, who came up with the name for the program that was launched three years ago and is now being taught in numerous states.

He said the name is one first responders can relate to because they recognize what it means out in the field.

When officers need help mentally, he hopes it will be viewed with the same understanding and ease that calling for backup brings on the job.
read it here

Thursday, June 27, 2019

NYPD 4 Officer Suicides in 3 Weeks

4 Officer Suicides in 3 Weeks: N.Y.P.D. Struggles to Dispel Mental Health Stigma

The New York Times
By Ashley Southall
June 27, 2019

First, there was the deputy chief facing mandatory retirement as his 63rd birthday approached. The next day, it was a veteran homicide detective who had talked dozens of people out of killing themselves.
Officers embraced on a street behind the 121st Precinct station house on Staten Island, where Officer Michael Caddy, 29, ended his own life on June 14.CreditCreditBryan Anselm for The New York Times

A week later, it was a young patrolman handling domestic violence cases and going through a divorce. Then on Wednesday, a veteran officer was found dead at his home on Long Island.

All four officers took their own lives this month with their service pistols, highlighting an uncomfortable reality: More police officers commit suicide every year in New York City than are killed in the line of duty, and the department’s efforts to persuade despondent officers to seek counseling have had only limited success.

Since 2014, an average of five New York City police officers have taken their own lives each year, according to the Police Department. Six have died by suicide in the last six months alone.
The recent cluster of deaths prompted Commissioner James P. O’Neill to declare a mental-health crisis and to direct officers to seek help.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

Monday, February 25, 2019

Seminole County Sheriff trying to prevent suicides...starting with his own

Seminole County sergeant speaks candidly about suffering from PTSD, suicidal thoughts

By: Katy Camp , Lauren Seabrook
Feb 23, 2019

SEMINOLE COUNTY, Fla. - In the mid-'80s, Sgt. Mark Dibona decided on a career. He decided to go into law enforcement, joining the Seminole County Sheriff's Office.

"I've been on the job now almost 34 years," he said.

That's more than three decades of seeing people at their worst, day in, day out. Exposed to tragedy, violence and - at times - overwhelming sadness - Dibona took the advice of those before him and developed a tough guy mentality.

"We were told to toughen up, walk away, have a beer," he told WFTV reporter Lauren Seabrook.

But that hard shell was just that - a shell. The truth of his heart reveals a man who is deeply caring, deeply empathetic and devoted to the people he is committed to protecting.

"A family pulled up next to me about two or three o'clock in the morning and handed me their baby and said, 'My baby's not breathing,'" he recalled. "It seemed like it took forever when I was doing CPR. Unfortunately the baby didn't make it. But to this day, I can still feel the baby on my arm. And that took a toll on me."
read more here

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Police unions seek recognition of PTSD as workplace illness

Post traumatic stress support group born from death of Hamilton police officer
Police unions seek recognition of PTSD as workplace illness
Hamilton Spectator
By Bill Dunphy
June 27, 2014

For the past five weeks a very small, self-selected group of Hamilton police officers has been gathering in secret to share experiences of debilitating pain, fear, isolation and withdrawal.

The officers are suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and for once, and finally, they're talking about it — getting help and helping each other.

It is perhaps fitting, that the Hamilton Employees Lifeline Peer Network (HELP-Net) should rise from a community shocked and torn by the very public death by suicide of Staff Sergeant Ian Matthews last December in the locker-room at police headquarters.

"It was never meant to memorialize or condone what Ian did, but to use it as a catalyst," Sergeant Helena Pereira explained, pointing out she doesn't even know if the popular detective had been suffering from PTSD.

The peer group — which is being supervised by mental health professionals from the Homewood Health Centre — is being funded by the Blarney Run, an annual fundraising effort by Matthews' friends and family that is meant to memorialize Matthews.

Pereira said Matthews's death and the public reactions seem to have helped crack open the traditionally closed police subculture, giving officers permission to come forward and admit their struggles.

"Police are so tight-lipped," Pereira said. "You have to be so calm. It all has to stay inside. You don't want to show any emotion. There's a stigma around asking for help."

But in the aftermath of that December death, many officers did just that — showed their emotion, admitted seeking and needing help.
read more here

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Police look for trauma support after Boston bombing

Police look for trauma support after Boston bombing
By Maria Cramer
JUNE 01, 2013

Boston Police Department officials said they are worried about long-term psychological effects of the Marathon bombings on their officers and are searching for ways to pay for more mental health specialists.

“We have an entire department that was impacted by the Marathon and many, many officers who saw things they should never have seen and endured things they should never have endured,” said Superintendent-in-Chief Daniel Linskey. “We’re going to have make sure they’re getting services not just for the first 12 to 24 hours [after the bombing], but the first week, the first month, the first year, and next five years down the road.”

In the days following the bombings, 600 officers were ordered to attend sessions called debriefings, in which they broke off in smaller groups to talk about the horror of that day. New York City police sent 18 retired and active officers trained in counseling to help Boston’s Critical Incident Management Team, which is composed of 45 officers trained in peer counseling.

The Boston Police department also contracts with three clinicians, but in the long run, the department will need even more help to respond to any psychological effects on officers in the weeks, months, and even years to come, Linskey said.

“Officers [generally] see horrific scenes and violent scenes that can have a cumulative effect on people over the years,” he said. “We’re going to have to invest additional resources.”
read more here
Boston Police after bombs

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Des Moines Police take on traumatic stress head on

We're reading only parts of the stories when police officers are involved in shooting people or responding to murders, domestic violence especially when they involve children. We read about how they responded, read about the civilians involved but we hardly ever think about the police officers after any of it unless they have to go on trail for what they did. That's a shame because in a time when we are finally talking about PTSD in soldiers, Marines and veterans, we leave police officers, firefighters and emergency responders totally out of the reporting on PTSD.

The problem is that police officers, drug agents and FBI agents have a lot in common with the troops in the military and the National Guards. They are not just exposed to traumatic events, they are also participants in them. Many times they have to make life or death decisions in a second and then have to live with those decisions for the rest of their lives. Sometimes, it is not a clear cut conclusion. Those are the times when what they thought they had to do will eat away at them.

We can read about a the shooting of a man they thought had a gun but it turns out, he was unarmed. The outcome is the same and the man is dead but the officer then must overcome the guilt they feel for making the wrong decision. We blame the officer then forget all about it, never knowing what the officer went through after. We dismiss any aftermath as being part of a group of problem officers the media loves to take on because we don't want to look at good cops making one bad decision and heaven forbid we ever look at a cop having to make these decisions every day.

We depend on them for our safety and that makes it hard to remember they are still human just like us. Unlike us, they are willing to put their lives on the line for someone else. It's time they were helped to heal as humans exposed to abnormal events just as we help the troops and veterans of combat heal.

New Des Moines police unit helps officers fight job stress
By DANIEL P. FINNEY • • July 29, 2009

Jeremy Sprague needed to get his head right.

In July 2004, Sprague, then a Dallas County sheriff's deputy, was one of four law enforcement officers who shot and killed a suicidal man who allegedly pointed a gun at authorities in rural Van Meter.

A grand jury later ruled the officers acted properly, but Sprague struggled with taking a life. He lost sleep. He tried to reconcile killing a man, even in the line of duty, with his Christian faith. He wanted to talk to somebody, but cop culture leaves little room for emotions.

"In law enforcement, you can't really expose your feelings, and I didn't feel like there was anywhere for me to turn," Sprague said. "So, I ended up bottling up all the stress. It wore me down."

With time, counseling and a job change, Sprague healed. In 2006, he became a Des Moines police officer. Now he and 14 other members of the Des Moines police and fire departments are working to make sure their peers never have to suffer in silence as Sprague did.

A handful of Des Moines police officers, firefighters and an emergency dispatcher launched a peer support group with an eye to helping colleagues avoid post-traumatic stress disorder and other crisis-related struggles. The committee began work on the project in spring 2008.
read more here
New Des Moines police unit helps officers fight job stress