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      Effects of a Comprehensive Police Suicide Prevention Program

      1 , 2

      Crisis

      Hogrefe Publishing

      suicide, prevention, police, workplace, program evaluation, helpline

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          Abstract

          Background: Police suicides are an important problem, and many police forces have high rates. Montreal police suicide rates were slightly higher than other Quebec police rates in the 11 years before the program began (30.5/100,000 per year vs. 26.0/100,000). Aims: To evaluate Together for Life, a suicide prevention program for the Montreal police. Methods: All 4,178 members of the Montreal police participated. The program involved training for all officers, supervisors, and union representatives as well as establishing a volunteer helpline and a publicity campaign. Outcome measures included suicide rates, pre-post assessments of learning, focus groups, interviews, and follow-up of supervisors. Results: In the 12 years since the program began the suicide rate decreased by 79% (6.4/100,000), while other Quebec police rates had a nonsignificant (11%) increase (29.0/100,000). Also, knowledge increased, supervisors engaged in effective interventions, and the activities were highly appreciated. Limitations: Possibly some unidentified factors unrelated to the program could have influenced the observed changes. Conclusions: The decrease in suicides appears to be related to this program since suicide rates for comparable populations did not decrease and there were no major changes in functioning, training, or recruitment to explain the differences. Comprehensive suicide prevention programs tailored to the work environment may significantly impact suicide rates.

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          Most cited references 25

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          An exploration of job stress and health in the Norwegian police service: a cross sectional study

          Background Police work is regarded as a high-stress occupation, but so far, no nationwide study has explored the associations between work stress and health. Aims To explore physical and mental health among Norwegian police and associations to job stress. Comparisons were made with a nationwide sample of Norwegian physicians and the general Norwegian population. Methods Comprehensive nationwide questionnaire survey of 3,272 Norwegian police at all hierarchical levels, including the Norwegian Police Stress Survey with two factors (serious operational tasks and work injuries), the Job Stress Survey with two factors (job pressure and lack of support), the Basic Character Inventory, the Subjective Health Complaint questionnaire, the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, the Maslach Burnout Inventory, and Paykel's Suicidal Feelings in the General Population. Results The frequency of job pressure and lack of support was mainly associated to physical and mental health problems. Females showed higher means on anxiety symptoms than males (4.2, SD 2.9 and 3.7, SD 2.9, respectively; p < 0.01), while males showed higher means on depressive symptoms (3.1, SD 2.9 and 2.4, SD 2.5, respectively; p < 0.001). Police reported more subjective health complaints, depersonalization and higher scores on three of four personality traits than physicians, but lower scores on anxiety and depressive symptoms than the general population. Conclusion This is the first nationwide study to explore job stress and physical and mental health in police. The results indicate that Norwegian police have high levels of musculoskeletal health problems mainly associated to the frequency of job pressure and lack of support. However, also frequent exposure to work injuries was associated to health problems. This may indicate that daily routine work as well as police operational duties must be taken into consideration in assessing job stress and police health.
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            Predictors of police suicide ideation.

            Further inquiry into processes that lead to suicide in the police occupation is necessary. Suicide ideation in police officers and possible correlates associated with such ideation is explored in this paper. The focus was on psychologically traumatic police work experiences, the development of posttraumatic stress (PTSD) in officers, and the inordinate use of alcohol associated with this condition. The impact of these occupationally based factors and their association with suicide ideation has not yet been fully explored. Results suggest that certain traumatic police work exposures increase the risk of high level PTSD symptoms, which subsequently increase the risk of high alcohol use and suicide ideation. The combined impact of PTSD and increased alcohol use led to a ten-fold increase risk for suicide ideation.
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              Help-seeking in the Norwegian Police Service.

              A traditional view is that police officers possess negative attitudes toward seeking professional help. However, few empirical studies have investigated help-seeking behaviour in police services. This study aimed to investigate help-seeking behaviour, gender differences, and the relationship to self-reported physical and mental health problems in the Norwegian police service. Comparisons were made with a sample of the general Norwegian population. A comprehensive nationwide questionnaire survey of 3,272 Norwegian police officers at all hierarchical levels was conducted; measurements included help-seeking, Subjective Health Complaint questionnaire (SHC), the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS), Paykel's Suicidal Feelings in the General Population, alcohol and medication to cope, self reported health, and sick leave. Female police officers contacted nearly all health professionals more than their male counterparts. Help-seeking was largely unaffected by age. Less than 10% of those reporting anxiety or depressive symptoms or serious suicidal ideation had contacted a psychologist or psychiatrist. A chiropractor had been contacted by 14.5% of the sample during the past year, compared with 7% in the general Norwegian population. Anxiety symptoms were associated with seeking a chiropractor (OR 1.9, 95% CI 1.3-2.7). The strongest association with contacting a psychologist or psychiatrist was medication used to cope (OR 5.8, 95% CI 3.0-11.1). The first nationwide study on help-seeking behaviour showed that police officers sought help among specialists in private practice, physiotherapists and chiropractors relatively often. However, they contacted a psychologist or psychiatrist rarely, even when reporting serious suicidal ideation.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Crisis
                Crisis
                Crisis
                Hogrefe Publishing
                0227-5910
                2151-2396
                March 23 2012
                2012
                : 33
                : 3
                : 162-168
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Centre for Research and Intervention on Suicide and Euthanasia and Psychology Department, Université du Québec à Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
                [2 ]Montreal Police Service (Service de police de la Ville de Montréal), Montreal, Canada
                Author notes
                Brian L. MisharaCentre for Research and Intervention onSuicide and Euthanasia (CRISE)Université du Québec à MontréalC. P. 8888, Succ. Centre-VilleMontréal, Québec H3C 3P8Canada Phone: +1 514 987 4832 Fax: +1 514 987 0350 E-mail: mishara.brian@ 123456uqam.ca
                Article
                cri_33_3_162
                10.1027/0227-5910/a000125
                3380405
                22450038
                © 2012 Hogrefe Publishing..
                Categories
                Research Trends

                Clinical Psychology & Psychiatry

                prevention, workplace, police, program evaluation, suicide, helpline

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