Tag Archives: stress

I Was a 911 Operator. You Wouldn’t Believe the Horrible Things I Heard

I talked to parents who found their children dead, to kids who watched their parents die. It took a toll.

I spent my non-working hours feeling anxious or paranoid; after all, I’d seen the underside of my community. After three years, I grew fearful that I would have nothing left to give to anyone outside of work – friends, family or my fiancé.  I remember watching “Conspiracy Theory” and going into a panic attack because of a minor detail triggered a flashback to a call. I was finishing my bachelor’s degree and had taken an abnormal psychology class and learned that there were terms for what I was experiencing: vicarious trauma, occupational distress, emotional fatigue.

When I put my finger on how the job had taken its toll, I knew I needed to step back and do some self-care. Not everyone in the profession is as fortunate. Though there is a mandatory psychological evaluation before you start the job, counseling afterward is always optional.  Though operators were encouraged to go through debriefing after a particularly difficult call, most operators didn’t. You don’t want your peers or especially your boss to question whether you can handle your job. Few people actually talk about the real struggle to balance empathy and protecting your heart against the pain of repeated traumatic exposure — operators where I worked fielded as many as 80 calls a day. The truth is that when it comes to facing vicarious trauma, we tell emergency operators across the country to “Deal with it yourself” every day.

Read more in Washington Post.

Not So Obvious Police Stress


The following  essay was written by Ronald Terry Constant. “Not So Obvious Police Stress” rethinks the stress that most impacts a police officer. Contrary to what television would lead you to believe, police officers are debilitated by factors other than danger such as bank robberies. These insights are important to citizens as much as to officers, after all, citizens put guns on the people who are being affected by these stressors.

Continue reading Not So Obvious Police Stress

Axe or Baseball Bat: Extremely Stressful Choices Between Emergency Family Violence Calls

One assailant was armed with a baseball bat. The other was wielding an axe. The two desperate phone calls concerning family violence came through to a police sergeant at a busy Melbourne station at the same time.

The sergeant didn’t have two divisional vans to send out and had an unenviable choice to make.

Choosing between emergency calls for which you haven’t enough officers is the stressful consequence for police of a rise in family violence.

Police and their union say officers are making choices like this almost every day when it comes to family violence situations.

A newly released survey conducted by The Victorian Police Association has found family violence now takes up an estimated 70 per cent of a frontline officer’s shift.

Read more in The Age.

Source: www.theage.com.au

Police officers are finding family violence “soul-destroying” and say they are not equipped to handle it. Photo: Jason South

Former Cop, Sufffering From PTSD, Slams Relentless Insurance Company Stalking Tactics

It’s been almost five years since Police Rescue and Bomb Squad member Jenny-Lee Harrod walked away from the job she loved.

Now she’s being stalked, followed and photographed – the helpless prey of insurance company investigators trying to catch her out.

Her crime? Lodging a claim for total permanent disability after 16 years in the job she loved.

There is no denying the 43-year-old has chronic post-traumatic stress disorder and is unfit for work, but like more than 100 former NSW police officers, she finds herself in a state of despair – stressed about her future and living as best she can with her illness.

‘‘I lived for the job. I was confident in what I did and was well regarded amongst the rescue team, but I was slowly losing it. I cried in front of my boss. You’re not allowed to cry in my job.

‘‘Now I just want to hide away and cry all the time. I don’t leave the house much but when I do the insurance company private investigators follow me, they also watch my husband and my daughter all the time.’’

Mrs Harrod was diagnosed with chronic PTSD and depression and her impairment rating has been assessed as 19 per cent. For total and permanent disability a claimant requires a rating of 15 per cent or above.

Read more in Illawara Mercury.

Source: www.illawarramercury.com.au

Machismo Culture of Police Work ‘Leading To Mental Problems’

Mental health problems among police officers are rife, with a ‘pressure-cooker’ workplace leaving many on the verge of breakdowns. Mental health problems among police officers are rife, with a ‘pressure-cooker’ workplace leaving many on the verge of breakdowns, a major new Midlands-based survey shows.

Research into difficulties facing some officers – which can lead to alcohol, relationship and absenteeism issues – has unearthed a ‘machismo culture’ which fosters ‘presenteeism’ – turning up no matter what – and an overwhelming sense of duty.

Read more in Birmingham Post.

Source: www.birminghampost.co.uk

Ed: cuts have consequences