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Effects of a Comprehensive Police Suicide Prevention Program

1, 2

Crisis

Hogrefe Publishing

3380405

10.1027/0227-5910/a000125

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 11

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Is Open Access

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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A peer-based assistance program for officers with the New York City Police Department: report of the effects of Sept. 11, 2001.

Few data on stress symptoms related to the World Trade Center disaster in law enforcement personnel have been reported. Most New York City Police Department (NYPD) officers had significant exposure to the events of Sept. 11, 2001. Approximately 5,000 officers responded within the first 2 days, and more than 25,000 officers worked at ground zero, the morgues, or the Staten Island landfill. Because the police are the first line of defense against terrorist attacks, it is imperative that they maintain optimal health and functioning. Concern for the long-term effects from traumatic exposure is warranted. In partnership with Project Liberty, peer officers and clinicians from the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance performed outreach, support work, and screening for stress symptoms related to the disaster in the NYPD from December 2002 until December 2003. Psychological issues in law enforcement personnel, a description of the outreach program, and data from these screenings are presented.
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Suicidal ideation and attempts in Norwegian police.

Studies on suicide among police show inconsistent results, thereby contributing to considerable speculation regarding why police officers commit suicide. The present paper is the first nationwide study on suicidal ideation and attempts among police. 3,272 Norwegian police completed Paykel's Suicidal Feelings in the General Population questionnaire. Lifetime prevalence of specific questionnaire items ranged from 24% for the feeling that life was not worth living, 6.4% for having seriously considered suicide, and 0.7% for attempted suicide. Independent predictors of serious suicidal ideation were marital status, subjective health complaints, reality weakness, anxiety, and depression. Serious suicidal ideation was mainly attributed to personal and family problems.

Author and article information

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
Journal
Crisis
Crisis
Crisis
Hogrefe Publishing
0227-5910
2151-2396
March 23 2012
2012
: 33
: 3
: 162-168
© 2012 Hogrefe Publishing..

Distributed under the Hogrefe OpenMind License [ http://dx.doi.org/10.1027/a000001]

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