June is a fun month for society. People celebrate summer, fresh produce, long days and relaxation. While this time is enjoyable, it is also a time to remember that June is PTSD Awareness Month. June 27th is specifically designated as PTSD Awareness Day. This month, we encourage people to take some time to think of and care for veterans, police officers, victims of abuse and other individuals they may know who are suffering the effects of trauma.
Law enforcement personnel specifically are in the unique position where they may work with individuals suffering from PTSD. They may be suffering from PTSD while simultaneously helping those with the disorder. After all, due to the nature of the job, officers may experience PTSD after responding to difficult, traumatic or troublesome calls. According to a past study, 35% of officers met the criteria for PTSD1. Now compare this to PTSD among the general population—3.6% for men and 9.7% for women2—and it is easy to see why PTSD is being discussed more in departments and why special care must be taken for our officers.
Learning About PTSD
Officers must be taught to recognize PTSD symptoms and know how to help those affected, including their co-workers. This is where VirTra can help. To help educate officers, VirTra created the curriculum “Mental Illness Training: A Practical Approach”, which is a combination of classroom and science-based simulation training. The curriculum includes 15 training hours though lessons such as PTSD, as well as other mental illnesses, including: depression, suicide, anxiety, crisis de-escalation and more. Officers learn the material in a classroom setting before engaging in simulated scenarios to practice recognizing the signs and communicating with the subject.
Mental health training for officers is an essential addition to any department’s curriculum. Mental health and PTSD are becoming increasingly more discussed, and as such, improving departments. Help us take care of your society and officers by increasing PTSD awareness and training.
Talk to a VirTra representative to get started.
- Austin-Ketch TL, Violanti J, Fekedulegn D, Andrew ME, Burchfield CM, Hartley TA. (2012). Addictions and the Criminal Justice System, What Happens on the Other Side? Post-traumatic Stress Symptoms and Cortisol Measures in a Police Cohort. Journal of Addictions Nursing, 23(1), 22–29.
- Kessler RC, Chiu WT, Demler O, Merikangas KR, Walters EE. (2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of 12-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication. Archives of General Psychiatry, 62, 617-627.