Panel Outlines Plan To Help Phoenix Police Treat PTSD

By the end of 2010, a disturbing trend had emerged at the Phoenix Fire Department: Four of its firefighters had committed suicide in a seven-month span.

The spate prompted an overhaul in how the department dealt with mental health, according to officials, and created a streamlined program that included peer support, financial and addiction counseling and a robust website directing its users to available resources.

Now, eight months after the suicide of a former Phoenix police officer diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, a city task force is recommending that the Police Department’s brass look to their firefighting counterparts.

The 13-member task force, which consists of doctors, city officials and presidents of Phoenix fire and police unions, recently released a set of recommendations to enhance mental-health services offered to the city’s first responders.

Recommendations span from specific to philosophical, urging an overall cultural change in an industry that critics say expects its employees to be mentally indestructible.

Rebecca Tiger, a Phoenix police officer and ex-wife of Craig Tiger who took his own life, said she would like to know the plan for officers after the mandatory 30-day screening but said she’s encouraged by the newfound attention to the issue.

“I liked what I was reading,” she said of the report. “I think the whole country is becoming more aware of PTSD and more accepting of it.”

Read more about the details in the AZ Central article.


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