Tag Archives: PTSD

Halifax Police Chief’s PTSD Among Stories In Book About Public Protectors

Chief of Halifax Regional Police Jean-Michel (J.M.) Blais
Chief of Halifax Regional Police Jean-Michel (J.M.) Blais
The chief of Halifax Regional Police opens up about his battle with post-traumatic stress disorder in journalist Janice Landry’s new book, The Price We Pay.

Chief J.M. Blais was diagnosed in 2012 but told Landry of his plight during a June 2014 interview that took place shortly after three RCMP officers were killed in Moncton.

“I’m deeply humbled that the chief would feel comfortable enough with me to open up and make this statement,” Landry said in an interview.

Landry’s father was a career firefighter who, decades ago, saved an eight-week-old infant in a horrible house fire in Halifax. Landry’s book includes an interview with a man who came forward to say he accidentally started that fire as a young boy.

“The whole reason I started working in this area was to honour my late father and his peers. I’m trying to spark discussion.”

The emotional fallout of the Moncton killings may have played a role in Blais opening up to her, Landry said.

Blais, who was a Mountie for 25 years before he switched to Halifax Regional Police, spoke to her of more than a dozen officer funerals he’s attended and three challenging trips to Haiti.

Landry hopes her book shines a light on people who face incredible challenges in their professions and elsewhere.

Read more in The Chronicle Herald.

RSL Push for Laws Recognising Former Diggers’ PTSD In Police Matters

RSL state secretary and Afghanistan veteran Glenn Kolomeitz with wife Dr Emma Gilchrist and their children Nicholas, 5, and Lara, 3 at the Hyde Park war memorial, Sydney. Picture: Jonathan Ng
RSL state secretary and Afghanistan veteran Glenn Kolomeitz with wife Dr Emma Gilchrist and their children Nicholas, 5, and Lara, 3 at the Hyde Park war memorial, Sydney. Picture: Jonathan Ng

The RSL has called for new laws to help stressed war veterans in trouble with the police, arguing they need hospital rather than jail.

The RSL’s NSW CEO Glenn Kolomeitz, who as a lawyer dealt with hundreds of veterans suffering post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mainly over drug and alcohol-fuelled violence, said not one of them should have been in the criminal justice system.

Mr Kolomeitz, an Afghanistan War veteran, said he was having talks with state Justice Minister David Elliott to press for laws giving troubled vets the same rights in legal matters as other segments of the community, including Aborigines, children and people with mental illnesses.

As authorities struggle to deal with an estimated 3000 homeless veterans sleeping rough, many suffering PTSD, Mr Kolomeitz said not one of the hundreds of vets he had dealt with in his law practice had reoffended.

“That zero recidivism rate tells me none of them should have been in the criminal justice system,” he said.

“It’s my view that when they are being interviewed by police, the police should identify them as a suspect potentially with PTSD, cease the interview and arrange for them to have some sort of legal advice. Other sectors of the population have that same entitlement.”

Read more in The Daily Telegraph.

You Are Not Alone: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Talk About Their Experiences

Je mourais à l’intérieur – I was dying inside

RCMP Constable Annabelle Dionne. Photo: Lori Wilson, Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness
RCMP Constable Annabelle Dionne. Photo: Lori Wilson, Families of the RCMP for PTSD Awareness
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) has distributed a video in which nine members of the RCMP reveal their distress and their experiences of post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental illness that contributed to the suicides of thirty Canadian first responders this year, according to the association Tema Conter Memorial Trust.

Continue reading You Are Not Alone: Royal Canadian Mounted Police Talk About Their Experiences

Minnesota Police Trained To Identify Veterans In Crisis


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.

Baker is a defense attorney who co-teaches a class called, “De-escalation Strategies for Minnesota Veterans in Crisis.” He tells officers what to look for, like combat badges, bumper stickers or clothing that helps identify a person as a veteran.

“What we want is to understand that this is a veteran, and if it’s a veteran crisis, how do we get them to treatment,” Baker said.

Officers from the St. Paul Police Department took part in the training, too.

“It’s a new item in our bet that we will be able to use and hopefully use less force,” St. Paul Police Sgt. Paul Paulos said.

Sgt. Paulos says it’s not a free pass for veterans, but a tool that can be used to get them the help they need.

Source: CBS Minnesota.

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

Lasting Scars From The Thin Blue Line: Former Mandurah Cops Fight for PTSD Compensation

Racked with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and frustrated by the lack of support he received from his employers, James Yates sat in his patrol vehicle contemplating death. It was thoughts of his family which stopped him pulling the trigger.

During his time as a police officer, Mr Yates came close to losing his life three times. Now medically retired from Western Australian Police, Mr Yates is fighting for compensation for medically retired police officers suffering from PTSD.

Also fighting for compensation is another former Mandurah cop – Michael Thornbury. It is almost a year to the day since he last spoke to the Mandurah Mail about his fight for compensation for medically retired officers. A year on, not much has changed.

Read more in The Guardian.

Source: www.theguardian.com.au

Relationship Between Smell And Psychological Trauma

Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist, first came to appreciate the power of smell in memory formation as a graduate student, when she used olfactory cues to enhance her human subjects’ memories of unfamiliar faces. She’s now a faculty member at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, and one of the nation’s experts on the relationship between smell and memory, and, in particular, smell and PTSD.

For patients and researchers, recognizing how smell might be linked to traumatic memories represented a big first step towards finding proper treatments. “When you find yourself walking down the street, and all of a sudden your heart’s pounding at 200 bpm, and your palms are sweaty, and you find yourself wanting to run and you don’t know why,” it’s critical to gain an understanding of what’s setting off your body’s alarms, Dalton said.

Read more in io9.

Source: io9.com

Oxford University Study Suggests Tetris Video Game May Ease PTSD

A new study (Computer Game Play Reduces Intrusive Memories of Experimental Trauma via Reconsolidation-Update Mechanisms) out of Oxford University suggests that playing Tetris — the venerable puzzle game featuring interlocking shapes — can keep bad memories or flashbacks at bay, easing their frequency and impact on those who have experienced trauma.

The research, from the same scientists who wrote in 2009 that Tetris reduced flashback frequency when played within four hours of a trauma exposure, could lead to development of drug-free treatments for preventing or easing post-traumatic stress and other combat-related mental health conditions.

Researchers cautioned that the combination is key to the improved scores and reduced flashbacks among the game players, adding that their research found that “playing Tetris alone … or memory reactivation alone was [in]sufficient to reduce intrusion.”

They say more work is needed to confirm the findings and develop possible PTSD preventive therapies. But they added that the study raises some interesting questions about modern living and computer engagement.

“A critical next step is to investigate whether findings extend to reducing the psychological impact of real-world emotional events and media,” they wrote. “Conversely, could computer gaming be affecting intrusions of everyday events?”

Read more in ABC13 News.

Source: www.13newsnow.com

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.

Source: www.azcentral.com