• Best Practices in Working with Law Enforcement

      Herlihy, Patricia A.; Rascati, James N.; Barber, Brad W. (EAPA, 2021-04)
      Employee Assistance Professionals have an unusual opportunity to provide workplace expertise during these unprecedented and stressful times. Law enforcement in particular is one population that is under unusual pressure these days. Law enforcement has always been a challenging and stressful occupation, but there has been an increase in their need for emotional support within the last year. An officer’s stress level impacts not only themselves and their ability to perform on the job, but also their family members and community. In one state where an EAP agency provides services to approximately 56 of the 102 police departments, a significant increase in the demand for EAP services was noted. A majority of these police departments experienced either double or sometimes even quadruple the number of requests for EAP services within the last two years. With this increase in demand for behavioral health services, opportunities arise for EAPs. However, for opportunities and partnerships to be successful, EA professionals need to better understand the subculture of law enforcement in the United States.
    • Finding first responders: working with police, fire, and emergency medical professionals

      Donnelly, Elizabeth A. (Elizabeth Anne); Barber, Brad W. (2017-10)
    • First Responders: Behavioral Health Concerns, Emergency Response, and Trauma

      United States. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 2018-05)
      This issue of the Supplemental Research Bulletin focuses on mental health and substance use (behavioral health) concerns in first responders. It is estimated that 30 percent of first responders develop behavioral health conditions including, but not limited to, depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as compared with 20 percent in the general population (Abbot et al., 2015). In a study about suicidality, firefighters were reported to have higher attempt and ideation rates than the general population (Stanley et al., 2016). In law enforcement, the estimates suggest between 125 and 300 police officers commit suicide every year (Badge of Life, 2016). First responders are usually the first on the scene to face challenging, dangerous, and draining situations. They are also the first to reach out to disaster survivors and provide emotional and physical support to them. These duties, although essential to the entire community, are strenuous to first responders and with time put them at an increased risk of trauma. The purposes of this publication are to discuss the challenges encountered by first responders during regular duty as well as following disasters; shed more light on the risks and behavioral health consequences (such as PTSD, stress, and depression) of serving as a first responder; and present steps that can be taken to reduce these risks either on the individual or institutional levels. Those who are among the first to respond to a disaster are referred to by different terms, depending on whether the speaker and audience are part of federal government, state and local government, or other entities, and they may not be clearly defined at all. According to Title 6—Domestic Security of the U.S. Code, first responders include these individuals and groups: The term “emergency response providers” includes Federal, State, and local governmental and nongovernmental emergency public safety, fire, law enforcement, emergency response, emergency medical (including hospital emergency facilities), and related personnel, agencies, and authorities (Domestic Security, 2010). The terms “first responders” and “public health workers” (the term used in some papers) are somewhat arbitrary; the terms include police, firefighters, search and rescue personnel, and emergency and paramedical teams (Benedek, Fullerton, & Ursano, 2007). For the purpose of this publication we will concentrate on three major groups that will be discussed separately—whenever possible—or combined under the term first responders: Emergency medical services (EMS) • Firefighters • Police officers This issue of the Supplemental Research Bulletin is based on literature and scientific publications found through the National Center for Biotechnology Information and U.S. National Library of Medicine (PubMed). All research cited in this issue was published in English, and most was conducted in the United States (with a few exceptions where investigations in other countries proved useful to the topic). We did not include literature on trauma related to military service, as the challenges and types of danger and training are different. We also did not include literature on nontraditional first responders because the literature was not robust.
    • Helping the Rescuers: Challenges and Rewards of Working with Public Safety - New York City

      Perrotta, Brittany (2020)
      AGENDA: - Understanding the First Responder culture; - Work environment and personal/interpersonal stressors of First Responders; - Differences between working with First Responders vs. civilians; - Effective strategies and key therapeutic approaches to use with First Responders
    • The role of Employee Assistant Programme in managing workplace violence: The experience of South African Police Service members in the greater Tzaneen municipality

      Mabunda, Rivalani Valentia; Terblanche, Lourie S. (2019-04)
      The purpose of this study was mainly, to explore the role of Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) in managing workplace violence, through looking at the experiences of SAPS members in the Greater Tzaneen Municipality. Workplace violence is both an academic and scientific concept which is receiving increased attention. Even though every employee should experience the workplace as a violence-free and safe environment, where he or she is able to perform his/her duties without fear of harm, this is unfortunately not the reality in most cases. Workplace violence is a reality in the present world and requires the attention of all stakeholders in the work organisation, employees, the employer as well as EAP professionals. The literature has highlighted that workplace violence can take different forms such as physical and psychological, with experiences ranging from bullying, verbal insults, physical assaults, harassment, and intimidation, to abuse and murder (Schiff, 2010:20). Police officers are not exempted from these experiences of workplace violence. Most of the police officers’ experiences of workplace violence which have been reported in the media platforms suggest that these experiences emanate from the general public, or people who are not members of the South African Police Services (SAPS). The qualitative research approach was utilized in this study, to conceptualise and describe the experiences of workplace violence by SAPS members; exploring the effects of workplace violence in the psycho social functioning and work performance and ; exploring the role of EAP in the managing workplace violence. The researcher used semi structured interview Schedule whereby, 15 interviews were conducted with 15 police officers. A collective case study design which focuses on different experiences of workplace violence by police officers was utilised. The findings indicated that workplace violence is well conceptualized and understood by police officers in Greater Tzaneen Municipality. The study also found that police officers experience workplace violence while conducting their daily duties such as attending complaints, doing cell inspections and apprehending alleged perpetrators of crime. Furthermore the respondent indicated that although EAP is available in the Tzaneen ix cluster office, it is not effective in managing workplace violence. Various recommendations were made from the above findings. The recommendations can assist in managing workplace violence through EAP.
    • Size up: What EA professionals should know before working with first responders

      Herlihy, Patricia; Rascati, James N.; Dalton-Theodore, Maia (2022-03-24)
      Law enforcement has always been one of the more stressful occupations in our society that is even more true today with COVID-19 and recent social unrest. It is not surprising that the rates of divorce, substance abuse, Acute Stress Disorder, PTSD and suicide are far higher in law enforcement than in the civilian population. This session will focus on learning successful strategies to engage rank and file officers in services to support their mental health needs. In addition, it will focus on specific skills to increase EAP consultation to command staff regarding training, critical incident response and other organizational issues. This panel is composed of a police officer, an expert EA Professional who works with law enforcement and a family member of a police family. These different backgrounds and orientations each offer their unique perspective with the main objective to enhance EAP services to meet the needs of the men and women who protect and serve our communities.
    • Suicide Prevention: Why It Should Matter to All of Us

      Beyer, Cal (2020-09)
      I worked in healthcare through high school and college — yes, even in high school! I was frequently exposed to the challenges of mental health and occasionally to suicide. From those experiences, I became determined to learn how to help people and to make a difference in the lives of others. Before I became a construction specialist, I was dedicated to public entity risk management for 10 years. My first behavioral health project in the workplace dates to a municipality I worked for in the late 1980s when I learned about employee assistance programs for first responders. I grew to understand why first responders were skeptical of this employee benefit program. And, this is one reason I have so much respect for the innovative Responder Health program! My first suicide prevention project was a few years later, when I learned to evaluate strategies to reduce suicides in lockup facilities. Initially, resistance ran high to the concepts. In the end, I helped to increase knowledge of the need for physical and mental health assessments when processing new detainees. When I moved to the construction industry in 1996, I was confronted by the need to expand my learning in critical incident response. This frequently included finding grief counselors following fatality incidents and injuries at the jobsite. Initially, there was resistance that this service was not needed and that “we’re tough” and “we’ve been through this before.” These types of interventions helped companies in the aftermath of the 9-11 terrorist attacks and the destruction of Hurricane Katrina. Over time, the new norm became incorporating psychological first aid after such critical incidents.
    • Tips for EAPs Working With Law Enforcement

      Rascati, James N. (WriteitRight, 2021-06)
      Law enforcement has long been a challenging and stressful occupation that has come under immense pressure due to civil unrest stemming from recent police shootings and related events. James Rascati, MSW, LCSW, is the Director of Organizational Services at Behavioral Health Consultants, LLC, which provides EAP services for 145 organizations including 54 police and 28 fire departments. Employee Assistance Report (EAR) had the opportunity to speak with Jim about the challenges facing EAPs who count municipal unions (including police officers and firefighters) among their clients. The resulting piece is the Q & A from that interview.
    • UPFRONT: Support for First Responders

      Dyme, Bernard S.; Venturini, Taylor (2021-03-09)
      Webinar focused on supporting mental health concerns of first responders. The focus was on teaching others about the first responder heroes, how they react to stress and trauma, and their need for mental health support. The three person panel discussed a range of options that can serve the needs of individuals, departments and leadership, Specifically they addressed: Mental health assessments or check-ins; Peer support programs and Leadership training, including unconscious bias, de-escalation and diversity, equity and inclusion