Tag Archives: mental health

Spotlight on organisational culture and police mental health (part 1)

In these series of articles, we are taking a close look at the issues plaguing the police agencies in Australia. The people and policies that maintain the status quo at and the ugly stranglehold of mental health stigma.  Note: parts of this article may be distressing to some readers.

Continue reading Spotlight on organisational culture and police mental health (part 1)

Three Supplemental Treatments for Recovery from a Suicide Attempt

Guest writer Steve Johnson discusses three approaches to aid in recovery from a suicide attempt and help improve mental wellness.

Recovery from a suicide attempt is a process that requires many facets of treatment. Of course, most important is a good counselor and possibly a support group. No treatment plan can replace the value of a well-trained counselor. Continue reading Three Supplemental Treatments for Recovery from a Suicide Attempt

Coronial Inquest: Policewoman Suffering From PTSD Killed Herself After Affair With Senior Officer

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A New South Wales policewoman took her own life after having an affair with a senior officer, an inquest has heard.

The married mother of two, who can only be known as Officer A, took her life on July 3, 2013.

Continue reading Coronial Inquest: Policewoman Suffering From PTSD Killed Herself After Affair With Senior Officer

Critical Incident Follow-ups “Not Necessary” For WA Police Officers

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Phil Hickey at Perth Now writes: A motion for mandatory psychological assessments and follow-up assessments six weeks later for officers who attend critical incidents, such as shootings, was passed at the WA Police Union’s annual conference last month.  Continue reading Critical Incident Follow-ups “Not Necessary” For WA Police Officers

Insp Joel Murchie Has Experienced the Horror of the Bali Bombings

NSW Police Force Mental Health Intervention Team Commander Joel Murchie who leads the force's experts with regards to mental health and suicide prevention. Picture: Tim Hunter.
NSW Police Force Mental Health Intervention Team Commander Joel Murchie who leads the force’s experts with regards to mental health and suicide prevention. Picture: Tim Hunter.

Joel Murchie will never forget that night in Bali in October 2002 when he heard two backpack explosions coming from the nearby Paddys Bar.

On the dancefloor of the Sari Club at the time, the policeman then saw a van parked 10m away from him, right up against the entrance.

The moments which followed would change his life forever.

“Being a typical police officer, I am about to almost get killed and I’m thinking why someone has illegally parked that van up against the front door,” he said.

Inspector Murchie is now part of the Counter Terrorism Forward Command Team and was on duty at the Lindt Café terrorist attack last year.

He is also the commander of the NSW Police Mental Health Intervention Team.

In November the MHIT will have trained every officer in mental health and suicide prevention.

Read more in The Daily Telegraph.

Police Suicide: An International Crisis

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Police suicides are occurring at alarming rates. This crisis is an international problem within the law enforcement community.

National police suicide statistics can be murky because few departments report them, but the nonprofit Badge of Life counted 126 officer suicides in 2012. In July of 2014, Brian Nordli reported that Bob Douglas, founder of the National Police Suicide Foundation believes that the number is even higher and stated that two officers commit suicide for each officer who is killed in the line of duty by a criminal.

Comparing police suicide suicides for 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 and comparing them to police officer line of duty deaths for the same period the magnitude of the crisis becomes clear. Police suicide is the number one cause of death of among law enforcement officers. Badge of Life recorded 126 suicides in 2012, while the Officer Down Memorial Page recorded 133 Line of Duty Deaths.

 

Douglas estimates that only 3 percent of the country’s 18,000 police agencies have suicide prevention programs. Experts say most people contemplating suicide send signals for help.

“I really think the key is leadership,” Douglas said. “That’s the reason why we’re wanting to develop this sensitivity enhancement model.”

Sources: Las Vegas Sun and E-Roll Call Magazine.

 

Mountie’s Widow Sues Over Husband’s Suicide

The wife of Pierre Lemaitre, the former B.C. spokesman for the RCMP, has launched a lawsuit alleging her husband was driven to commit suicide as a result of the negligence of other RCMP officers and harassment on the job.

Sheila Lemaitre, a mother of two and a former RCMP officer herself, cites several incidents including the RCMP’s demotion of Lemaitre following the death of Polish immigrant Robert Dziekanski as contributing to his suicide in Abbotsford on July 29, 2013.

“The death of Pierre Lemaitre was a result of severe psychiatric/psychological conditions which were a direct result of his service in the RCMP and the negligence of the RCMP and members of the RCMP in the province of British Columbia,” says a notice of civil claim filed in B.C. Supreme Court.

The lawsuit says that after Dziekanski was Tasered by RCMP at Vancouver International Airport in October 2007, Lemaitre became aware that some of the information he’d released to the media was incorrect.

It says he requested permission from his superiors to correct the misinformation, but was ordered not to and then removed as media representative on the file.

A short time later, Lemaitre was demoted, assigned to desk work and then transferred to the Langley detachment, where there was no media function.

Read more in the National Post.

Source: news.nationalpost.com

Although still holding the rank of corporal in Chilliwack, he was assigned to constable duties and advised that the transfer was a punishment and that HQ had wanted to get rid of him”

Why Mental Health Awareness is So Important to Policing

Elizabeth Shiftwell from Humanizing the Badge writes:


I want to talk about a global issue.  It’s not an easy subject.  It doesn’t segregate based on sexual orientation, race, gender or occupation.  In fact, it doesn’t segregate at all.  It doesn’t prowl on the weak because they are easy targets and it doesn’t attack the strong out of jealousy or envy.  It’s around every corner; sometimes lurking in the shadows and sometimes standing in broad daylight.  What is this mysterious creature that is often so terrifying in silence?  Depression. Depression or the various forms of mental health disorders affect all of us in one way or another. (…)


If you think about the aspects of being a solider or a police officer, they are expected to have it together all the time. As a society, we don’t allow them to be human.  We don’t allow them to be flawed.  We don’t allow them to be human.   We have forced them to keep shoving more grief and more compartmentalized emotions into their own emotional suitcases until it finally busts at the seams.


Read more on the Humanizing the Badge blog. 

Source: www.humanizingthebadge.com

Elizabeth Shiftwell is an author, podcaster and speaker, writing about very important and current issues in policing in her blog: Humanizing the Badge.

Truths That People With PTSD Wish Others Understood

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a condition that will affect an estimated 7.8 percent of Americans at some point in their lives, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs. It’s a psychiatric disorder that can be caused by life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents or physical or sexual assault.

The Mighty wanted to raise awareness and spread understanding of this serious and often debilitating condition. So together with the PTSD Support and Recovery Facebook page, they asked people who live with the conditionwhat they wish others could understand about it. This is what they had to say.

1. “It isn’t just war veterans who suffer from it. It’s caused by being in any traumatic situation, such as mental, physical or sexual abuse. Car accidents or watching a traumatic incident can also cause it.” — Julianne Parker Jeppesen.

Read more on Yahoo Health.


Source: www.yahoo.com

Santa Cruz Police Officer With PTSD Fights for Disability Retirement

For many years, former Santa Cruz police officer Josafat “Joe” Rodriguez Jr. didn’t know he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

A veteran of the Persian Gulf War, the 44 year old from Salinas at first didn’t acknowledge that the wail of a police siren triggered memories of sirens he heard during the war. The desert sirens warned of nerve-gas attacks, and Rodriguez would don a gas mask and take cover with his fellow Marines.

As a Santa Cruz police officer years later, Rodriguez joined the county’s Narcotics Enforcement Team and participated in guns-drawn drug raids on homes that also reminded him of the war. Even working at the police station, where people walked casually in halls carrying guns and wearing uniforms, was enough to give him an anxiety attack.

Now, according to attorneys involved in a court case that has spanned five years, an inability from him or anyone else to recognize his symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder may cost him a disability retirement worth tens of thousands of dollars.

Shaffman, Rodriguez’ attorney, said Rodriguez struggled for a long time to understand his own mental health problems. He has since remarried and had a third child.

“Rodriguez gave enormous service and sacrifice to his country and this community at great personal cost. “He has no anger towards the city for how he has been treated, as he understands no one realized when he left that he was suffering from PTSD,” said Shaffman.

Now, Shaffman said, “His deepest desire is to continue to heal his own PTSD and help his fellow war veterans heal theirs.”


The Veterans Affairs crisis line can be reached at 800-273-8255 ext. 1 or by texting 838255 or visiting www.VeteransCrisisLine.net.


Read more in the Santa Cruz Sentinel.

Source: www.santacruzsentinel.com