Criminal News
Curiosities from the world, criminal news

Helping Cops Deal With Trauma: What Works?

0 0

While demand for mental health services for police has increased, so has scientific research into the effectiveness of various practices. Renee Mitchell, of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing, a California officer, says some studies find that “critical incident stress debriefings” are ineffective or possibly even harmful to individuals who participate in them, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

Debriefings after traumatic incidents, specifically, are a practice that Sergeant Mitchell, and some other researchers and agencies, have concerns about. She recalled a study of one such debriefing after a child had been drowned, in which a firefighter said hearing about the child’s family only “made it worse.”

Other cities are actively involved in “critical incident stress management” (CISM). In Fort Worth, for instance a 40-person CISM support team helps fellow officers process traumatic incidents, trying to mitigate or prevent long-term mental health effects. Over the following weeks or months, peer support officers talk with their colleagues who had responded to the scene, telling them what psychological reactions to expect, debriefing them together, and seeing that their basic physical and emotional needs are met.

Debriefings can force an individual to relive an event or confront a trauma before they’re ready, or can interrupt their natural coping processes.The methods are used around the world, including by hundreds of U.S. police and fire departments, as the impact of trauma on officer’s mental health is getting increased attention.

The Stockton, Ca., Police Department  created a wellness program for its officers that is hailed as a national model. Officers are introduced to the “wellness network” with an eight-hour training during orientation, educated on how stress affects the mind and body, and taught mindfulness techniques and other methods to keep themselves on an even keel.

Over the following weeks or months, peer support officers talk with their colleagues who had responded to the scene, telling them what psychological reactions to expect, debriefing them together, and seeing that their basic physical and emotional needs are met.  Debriefings can force an individual to relive an event or confront a trauma before they’re ready, or can interrupt their natural coping processes.

Additional Reading:

Police Suicides May Be Rising; 165 Reported Last Year

Original »

Comments
Loading...