SAFE CALL NOW
This time of year also takes an emotional toll on law enforcement members. We are human beings who are put into some unthinkable situations performing a frustrating duty for a demanding public. The downside of our career brings out emotional and mental health issues in our co-workers and peers. Law enforcement officers, dispatchers, and support staff face similar personal problems as the public we serve.
Family and relationship issues, marital discord, financial pressures, and a recent loss of a loved one are some of the issues we face on top of carrying out our policing duties. The downside is that some of our brothers and sisters are suffering from depression, PTSD, and addiction problems (alcohol, prescription drugs, food, gambling or compulsive spending etc.).
We may observe these weaknesses in our peers. They tend to isolate themselves and put on a brave face. The reality is they are dying inside emotionally. Many of these folks don’t know what to do. I can bet that you have felt this pain, as I have. We are society’s problem solvers but sometimes our pride and fear of others’ opinions get the best of us.
Our profession suffers from co-workers and peers who may act out inappropriately in their behavior. Some may receive disciplinary action or they may lose their career. Some may hurt themselves or other people and some take their own lives. Statistics indicate that police officer suicides are 2-3 times more likely than line-of-duty deaths.
I have two requests for you today and every day:
1. Please check in with your co-workers, peers and families every day. If you observe something that is not right, REACH OUT and take time to listen to them. Ask if they have a desire to hurt themselves. Just as important, offer to get them some help. EAP programs, chaplains, C.I.S.M. teams, police peers are great referrals. Even if you have to take them to the hospital-Take Action!
2. Remember this group:
Safe Call Now
Telephone (206) 459-3020
Safe Call Now is a confidential nationwide hotline available 24-7 developed and staffed by public safety professionals. They provide assistance and referrals for those in emotional crisis or need someone to listen. Safe Call Now will provide local referral services for addiction, depression, stress, and PTSD as well as financial, psychological, health, grief, loss, or relationship issues
Safe Call Now was developed by Sean Riley, a police officer who battled addiction and came close to becoming another police suicide. Sean worked with a variety of unions, elected officials, and public safety groups in Washington to ensure confidentiality for all callers approaching Safe Call Now for help.
Safe Call Now is a registered 501©3 non-profit organization which began in April 2009. To date over 4,000 individuals and families have been referred for service
Check out their website: www.safecallnow.org
- Post this information in your station or union bulletin board
- Get your union or FOP on board to support this organization
- Tell your co-workers and peers about Safe Call Now
Warm wishes to you and your family for a happy and safe holiday season. Thank you for your noble service.
Sergeant Mark St.Hilaire is a police officer in a Metro-west suburb of Boston, Massachusetts. He is a police peer volunteer with a regional C.I.S.M. team. He can be contacted by replying to this website or by confidential email at: [email protected]