Specialized Resources for Law Enforcement, Military Personnel, and their Families
                                                                                                Police Suicide

   According to the National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation, every 55 hours an officer dies in the line of duty but every 17 hours an officer dies by his own hand.  Why?  Due to the nature of the job, officers are subjected to constant stressors not common in other careers.  The high stress work environment, physical and emotional strain, high incidence of substance abuse, and availability of a weapon are a deadly combination for law enforcement.  This leads to burnout, low morale, trauma, depression and sometimes death.  Remember, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.  Problems can be worked through.  The below listed risk factors and warning signs may make one person more prone to suicide than another:

           Suicide Risk Factors/Warning Signs:
           Loss/change in important relationship                                                         Legal or Financial problems
           Feelings of hopelessness, depression, despair, anxiety                              Under investigation
           Change in sleep and/or appetite                                                                    Talks about death or wanting to die
           Minimal social support                                                                                    Past History of suicide attempts
           Alcohol/substance abuse                                                                                Family history of suicide and/or attempts 


If you or someone you know is an immediate risk for suicide, call 911.  Individuals who have a plan in place are at a higher risk for completing the act.  Seek help from a professional if you are suffering from depression and stress and are considering suicide as an option.  

                                                                               Trauma in Law Enforcement

     Alan R. Kates, author of the nationally acclaimed book, “Copshock; Surviving Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)”, cited research which suggests that as many as a third of the law enforcement officers in this country are impaired by PTSD.  Suffering from PTSD causes many to be emotionally and mentally paralyzed.  Besides potentially experiencing a life-threatening event, the accumulated trauma officers face in their careers can be deadly, resulting in illness or suicide.  Officers often feel they must “suck up” the ugliness they are exposed to on a regular basis because it is “part of the job.”

    What does trauma look like?  Traumatic stress may include any one or more of the following: 
        Emotional signs: denial, fear, depression, grief, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness/helplessness, anger, irritability, aggression, dwelling on the incident, suicidal ideation, and perhaps questioning the belief in a higher power
         Physical signs: chest pain, trouble breathing, high blood pressure, indigestion, headaches, dizziness, vomiting, sweating, tremors, rapid heart rate, sleep disturbances, dry mouth, and fatigue. 
         Cognitive signs: confusion, disorientation, indecisiveness, hyper arousal, memory and concentration problems, dreams, nightmares, flashbacks, disruption in logical thinking, slowed thinking, and blaming others.
         Behavioral signs: change in speech pattern, angry outbursts, violent acts, being argumentative, withdrawing from others, increase use of alcohol/food/tobacco/drugs, promiscuity, gambling, buying sprees, changes in work habits and interaction with others, and unexplained crying spells.

        If trauma is unresolved, eventually the symptoms may disappear.  Often unresolved trauma builds up, however, and negatively affects your mental health having devastating consequences in your professional and personal life. Persistent unresolved symptoms may result in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.  To resolve your feelings regarding a traumatic event you must think about it, talk about it, and work with a professional to make sense of the event.  Below are some resources to help you.

Police Divorce
http://policepsychologyblog.com/?p=2644

Police Suicide
Police Officer Support Team (POST)414-352-5125                                             
Milwaukee County Mental Health Crisis Hotline (24 hrs.) 414-257-7222
Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
National Certified Crisis Hotline 1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
http://www.mhawisconsin.org/ - treatment locator/info
http://www.psf.org - National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation
http://www.tearsofacop.com/ - Information for survivors of suicide
http://www.policeone.com/health-fitness/articles/1723400-Police-Officer-Suicide-How-to-cope-how-to-heal - Article on Police Suicide


Mental Health
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) 1-800-950-NAMI (6264)
National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI) of WI  414-344-0447
http://www.milwaukee.gov/der/EAP - City of Milwaukee EAP
http://www.mhawisconsin.org/ - treatment locator/info; self-assessment screening tool
http://www.helpguide.org/ - info on mental health/illness
http://www.badgeoflife.com - promotes and supports the mental health of law enforcement through education. This site provides information on self-care, suicide prevention, PTSD.
http://www.liveandworkwell.com--United Healthcare therapist list and confidential resources for mental health and it's changes.
http://www.heavybadge.com/index.html

Trauma
Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute (410) 825-8888 ext. 203
http://www.helpguide.org/mental/post_traumatic_stress_disorder_symptoms_treatment.htm# - Info on PTSD 
http://www.policeone.com/health-fitness/articles/114098-20-tips-for-helping-a-traumatized-officer/# - Tips to help a traumatized officer
http://www.forcescience.org/fsinews/2004/11/latest-findings-and-recommendations-about-traumatic-stress 
http://www.ptsd.va.gov - provides info, training and education on PTSD  


Military
Milwaukee Vet Center (414) 536-1301
VA Health Benefits Service Center 1-877-220-VETS
Sidran Traumatic Stress Institute (410) 825-8888 ext. 203
http://www.ptsd.va.gov - provides info, training and education on PTSD
http://www.dryhootch.org - Support services for veterans
http://www.militaryonesource.com


Police Families
http://www.shieldedhearts.com
http://www.policefamilies.com
http://www.nationalcops.org- This site is also the site for C.O.P.S.-Concerns of Police Survivors; provides resources for family and co-workers of officers killed in the line of duty.

Community Health Education Classes/Support Groups (in the Milwaukee, WI area)
http://www.froedtert.com/classes - Various classes/support groups related to medical issues and emotional wellness
http://www.cemeteries.org/services0024.asp - Grief support groups in the Milwaukee area

POST has created this website and it's pages to assist you with finding the help that you may need by providing information on services in our area. We encourage you to contact us with your ideas to make the site better. Also, if you know of other helpful resources that may not be listed here, we would like to know about them. You can email the POST Board at milwpolicepost@gmail.com We want to stress that only the POST Board can access the voicemail and email.

Because of our commitment to helping Law Enforcement personnel and their families, POST has been lucky enough to be recognized by PoliceOne.Com – Police and Law Enforcement News.  We can be found on their website in the wed directory under the Communities tab. Their mission is to provide officers with information and resources that make them better able to protect their communities and stay safer on the streets. They provide a secure, trusted and reliable online environment for the exchange of information between officers and departments from across the United States and from around the world.  Please visit their website for additional resources. You can click on the POLICEONE.com logo below to go straight to their site. 


*Used with permission.
Please click on the icons below for flyers with more information regarding suicide.
City of Milwaukee Employee Assistance Program 
You can click on the icon to the right to be directed to a
flyer that gives information on upcoming EAP workshops.