Support for those who answer the call for help
The men and women of the Investigative Services Branch (ISB) have been called to this profession out of a passion for justice and helping those in need.
With this passion can come some significant costs in the form of mental and physical trauma. The nature of the work of emergency responders puts them at increased risk to experience traumatic events.
This can be especially true for our law enforcement officers (LEOs) who often see the worst side of human behavior. Despite our relatively small size, ISB has not been immune to the epidemic of law enforcement officer suicide. In 2015, the National Park Service community lost two officers to this tragic end.
We are actively engaged in increasing awareness of the mental and physical toll imposed upon law enforcement officers and their families. We keep this important topic in our collective thoughts through in-person discussions at our annual training, consistent messaging, and other support for everyone on our team.
Every day is a good day to start the conversation about mental health - and a conversation could save a life. We don't always know who is struggling, but we do know that making a connection reduces the risk of suicide. It is something we can all do to help - and we don't have to wait for signs of struggle to get started.
If you are a law enforcement officer having difficulty processing the traumatic events you have been exposed to, YOU ARE COMPLETELY NORMAL. Seeking help when experiencing stress, depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts is a sign of courage, not one of weakness. Seeking help for a colleague is an act of compassion and strength, not an act of disloyalty.
If you need help, confidential resources are available to NPS officers at no charge:
- Responder 911: The goal of this program is to provide help and support for every employee involved in an on-the-job traumatic incident, and to be there to support their families. The National Park Service provides direct incident support, post-event education, and professional counseling. This anonymous services provides access to a clinical psychologist who has special insights into the the experiences of law enforcement and emergency services personnel - they may call anytime: 888-918-3332
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP): The EAP helps employees deal with all kinds of work/life issues. Confidential advice, referrals, and counseling are available 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Call 800-869-0276 or visit www.espyr.com
- Badge of Life: This group of active and retired law enforcement officers, medical professionals, and surviving families of suicides takes a new approach to suicide prevention called the "Emotional Self-Care Program." Rather than waiting until an officer is in crisis to act, they teach them how to stay out of emotional trouble. More at www.badgeoflife.com
Last updated: November 27, 2019