Officer safety is the top concern for police executives. Every chief wants their officers to return home each day as healthy and safe as when they came on duty. Police culture acknowledges the importance of physical safety and wellness. Precautions to ensure an officer’s physical safety abound and are often reinforced through official policy statements and training requirements. From wearing bulletproof vests and seat belts to self-defense and firearms training, physical safety is something all departments emphasize and all officers support. Similarly, every police department has initial physical fitness requirements in order for an officer to be accepted into the department.
Unfortunately, mental health and well-being, while equally critical, fail to receive the same level of attention and resources within the officer safety continuum. Mental health issues and the threat of officer suicide are often topics no one wants to acknowledge. In a profession that prides itself on bravery and heroism, mental health concerns can be seen as weaknesses and antithetical to the strong courageous police persona. Nevertheless, police officers are not immune to stress, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health concerns or illness. Arguably, they are more susceptible given the horrific events, trauma, and chronic stress endemic in their profession.
Where Do You Turn For Psychological Safety?
Police officers begin their training in the academy, or even earlier in colleges and universities specializing in policing studies, and continue that training throughout their careers via in-service, roll call, and external professional development opportunities. And it’s safe to say that most police officers are extremely well-trained in the areas of police policy, protocols, and requisite skills. However, officers may be surprisingly ill-trained or not trained at all in recognizing signs of and effectively responding to emotional distress, or suicidal behavior, particularly when it involves one of their peers.
When your agency and individual officers do seek guidance and assistance, you might find that limited resources are available. Those that are available sometimes come from conflicting sources, with few devoted specifically to law enforcement. As a result, neither officers nor agency heads know where to turn in a time of crisis.
We Can Help
Most mental health practitioners do not typically understand the complexities of the police officer’s job. With over 25 years of experience in law enforcement, we understand the culture and unique needs of agencies like yours. Our suicide awareness and intervention training is designed for the law enforcement culture and is evidence-based. Learn what you need to know to protect your co-workers, friends, family, and community.
As a Suicide Gatekeeper You Will Learn To:
Recognize the warning signs of suicide
Know how to offer hope
Know how to get help and save a life
VERY INFORMATIVE CLASS
I have a close family member that has shown many signs of being suicidal. I wanted to know the best way to help him. This training by Dr. Leger is very informative and really helped me to understand better how to view and help people who have suicide intentions. He used real life examples and taught on a level we could all understand. I like that this class included a booklet and pocket card to help me remember what to say. This class was presented in a very easy way to understand. Dr. Leger followed his presentation very closely and gave many examples in handling situations.
In my 32 plus years as a law enforcement officer, l have had the misfortune to witness first hand how suicide can affect everyone it touches- family, friends, and first responders alike. Suicide is one of the most preventable conditions on the planet, yet unfortunately a law enforcement officer is statistically more likely to die by his own hands than those of a violent criminal.
The QPR course taught by Dr. Bart Leger gives all who attend the tools to do just that- prevent it. Who knows how many lives have already been saved by this invaluable program? No wellness program is complete unless it encompasses not only the health of the body, but of the mind as well.