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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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      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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        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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          Suicide Among New York City Police Officers, 1977–1996

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            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
            3380405
            22450038
            10.1027/0227-5910/a000125
            cri_33_3_162
            © 2012 Hogrefe Publishing..

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

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