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Police Officers and the Need for Counseling

            It is no secret that police officers have a tough job. Between gun fights and responding to the homicides of babies, it is hard to compare the stressors imposed on police officers to any other profession. Arrigo and Garsky (1997) describe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as "the silent killer among police officers." What makes it the 'silent' killer? Society assumes police officers are strong and tough, and the same stigma is found within the walls of any police station. The increase of suicides committed by police officers is a call for help. There is an abundance of literature that examines the stressors of police officers. Enough research has been conducted; it's time police services take action. We are proposing police services mandate annual counseling for all police officers in an attempt to improve their overall wellness whiling eliminating the fear of getting help. .
             Police officers are at high risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anxiety disorders and depression. It is estimated that 12% to 35% of police officers meet the diagnostic criteria for PTSD at any given time (Maia et al., 2007, p. 241). The Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) defines PTSD as a mental illness, which "involves exposure to trauma, particularly involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence" (CMHA, 2014). According to Robinson & Mitchell (1993), a common type of stressor experienced by police officers is acute stress derived from sudden events, usually of short duration, and it produces almost immediate psychological and physiological reactions. Cross and Ashley (2004) explained how traumatic incidents affect police officers: "Traumatic or critical incidents are acute stressors that are dramatic, overwhelming, and can easily overcome a person's normal ability to cope. Trauma-related events experienced by officers may include physical injury while on duty, an officer-involved shooting, the death of a coworker, hostage situations, and officer suicides" (p.

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