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Video: Treating PTSD Still Issue for Police

September 29, 2014  | 

VIDEO: Treating PTSD Still Issue for Police

Mental health experts say post-traumatic stress disorder is a very real concern in first responders.

"We pay them very little. They work ridiculous hours. And then we're surprised they would come down with PTSD or acute stress symptoms. We should just expect that they would come down with it. Not be surprised when they do," says Dr. Robbie Adler-Tapia, a Tempe-based psychologist who specializes in treating emergency personnel with PTSD.

Discussions of PTSD usually surround military personnel returning from the front lines of war-torn countries. And while the attitudes of some officers are slowly starting to change, many believe police managers and the upper brass are reluctant to acknowledge PTSD as an on-duty injury and address the growing problem in the rank and file, reports

"Departments need to know that with quick treatment, with treatment options, with therapy, their employees who are having trouble can get back to work very easily," said Nathan Schlitz, a retired Mesa (Ariz.) PD officer.

Getting officers to talk about how their experiences on the street affect them is a challenge, in part because of the attitude that officers get paid to protect and serve and should suck it up and push through anything. There is also the stigma that if officers ask for help they are weak.

"They're exposed to critical incidents every day. And the wear and tear of it just takes its toll on them. And we don't provide services to keep them in shape. You know, psychologically healthy," Adler-Tapia said.

Comments (2)

Displaying 1 - 2 of 2

TheRookie @ 9/30/2014 1:56 AM

It's real & since we are a prideful lot it hasn't been recognized or confronted the way it should be. I once almost lost my career from it in 1996. 14 years later after a brutal use-of-force confrontation I was retired by injuries & its diagnosis. Had 24 years in though.

MJJ @ 10/27/2014 6:40 PM

My brother is a police officer, he has worked in that capacity for about sixteen years, recently he was involved in an incident where him self and several other officers had to confront a EDP( emotional disturb person) who was baracaded inside of his apartment and off their medication, after several attempts to get that EDP to surrender peacefully, discharging canisters of OC, tazers, which all failed, they attempted to make an entrance. During the entrance the EDP came at the officers with a knife and had to be shot ( he survived). My brother had to assist the paremedics in giving aid to that EDP, clear the way for the ambulance to the hospital, and watch as the doctors work on him at the ER. He was later told by the Captain in charge that anybody that is feeling traumatized from the incident is allowed to take a few days off, imagine his surprised when he took only ONE day off to deal with this trauma that he later found out that he was charged with a sick day. Why would the administration that is suppose to help you deal with such traumatic situations make you relive it all over again, why would would the brass that is suppose to protect you punish you for doing your job. I know how it feels because I serve the same city as a fire man.

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