Suicide makes us uneasy.
It devastates family, friends and co-workers as they ask, “Why didn’t I see it? Why didn’t he say something, How could I have stopped it?”
Those who contemplate suicide generally feel that taking their life is the last option available that can ease their pain and suffering. Our best option to prevent suicide is to become familiar with the warnings signs, as we know them.
Severe physical wounds may heal eventually, but untreated psychological wounds can linger, or resurface if triggered. That’s the lesson firefighter/paramedic Ben Vernon learned when he survived a violent knife attack while on duty in June 2015. Ben developed post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and we detailed his ordeal in our March 7, 2016 blog post. He revealed that his screams, sweats and nightmares finally ended when he underwent Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an integrative psychotherapy that The Counseling Team International also provides.
He had contemplated suicide. After losing 19 comrades in the 2013 Yarnell fire, how was he to move forward? In his stirring presentation at the 2016 PSPSA Conference, wildland firefighter Brendan McDonough spoke openly about the burden he carried. So heavy were his memories of surviving the fire that he drove to an isolated area and prepared to shoot himself with the loaded gun he carried.
Dr. Bohl-Penrod captures the sense anger and fear so many in law enforcement may be feeling now. In her blog entry, Dr. Bohl-Penrod empathizes while identifying key markers of stress brought on by recent events. Learn what to look for and what to do if those feelings arise within yourself or your ranks.
At the 2016 Public Safety Peer Support Association Conference, public safety professionals will have the opportunity to hear the intense yet critical messages of these speakers, at the Wellness on the Front Line Conference, on September 13-16, in San Diego, California.