January 24, 2018

24/7 Mental Health Support for Law Enforcement Officers
It is well known that law enforcement is considered a stressful occupation and many officers are exposed to trauma, violence, and death during their careers. Those stressors can profoundly impact officer health and well-being. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness:
  • Almost 25% of police officers have thoughts of suicide at some point in their life. In the smallest departments, the suicide rate of officers is almost four times the national average.
  • The suicide rate for police officers is four times higher than the rate for firefighters.
  • Between 7-19% of police officers have symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). In comparison, only 3.5% of the general population experiences PTSD.
  • Police are twice as likely to die by suicide than by homicide.
Copline is a national non-profit organization staffed entirely by retired police officers that provides confidential mental health support to law enforcement officers, including college and university police, and their families for free. Officers struggling with trauma, depression, or other forms of stress may call 1-800-267-5463 at any time, as the hotline is operational 24/7. "Cops are far more likely to speak to other officers who they believe have a basis for understanding the realities of a career in law enforcement," said Jay Nagdimon, a police psychologist for the Los Angeles Police Department. Retired law enforcement officers are trained in active listening and bring the knowledge and understanding of the many psychosocial stressors that officers go through both on and off the job.
Copline maintains strict confidentiality and provides crisis intervention support and referrals to mental health services as needed. International Association of Chiefs of Police former President Zakhary Yost said, "Copline could open the door for an opportunity for someone to get the professional help they need." Copline's informational flyer (PDF) is available to download and print for your department.

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month
February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month (TDVAM), a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) define teen dating violence (TDV) as "physical, sexual, psychological, or emotional violence within a dating relationship, including stalking." TDV can occur between an individual and a current or former partner, and can be perpetrated both in-person and in electronic forms. Due to varying definitions of and methods for measuring violence, estimates of TDV prevalence can vary. The CDC reports (PDF) that 1 in 10 high school students have experienced physical violence from a dating partner in the past year. Across studies, 15-40% of youth report perpetrating some form of violence towards a dating partner. Perpetrating dating violence in adolescence increases the risk of perpetrating violence toward a partner in adulthood. TDV is a public health problem that requires a comprehensive community approach to prevention.
Multiple organizations recognize TDVAM and provide resources such as training, information and statistics, and ways to take action and help spread awareness and prevent dating violence. Some of these organizations, and specific resources, include:
  • Break the Cycle: Break the Cycle is a national nonprofit organization that provides preventive dating and domestic violence education and outreach to teens and young adults. On their website, you can find activities planned throughout the month that will assist in starting a discussion about TDV, sharing warning signs of dating violence, and joining in social media conversations.
  • Dating MattersĀ® Interactive Guide on Informing Policy: One important component of a comprehensive approach to TDV prevention is ensuring that the best available data, evidence, and practice are included in policy development, implementation, and evaluation. The CDC's Dating Matters initiative provides a framework for evaluating TDV and TDV-related policies, and synthesizing the information to inform policy. The Dating Matters Capacity Assessment and Planning Tool is an online system that helps local health departments and their school and community partners assess and monitor their capacity for implementing a comprehensive TDV initiative. Dating Matters also provides resources to support TDV prevention work and free online training for educators, school personnel, and other youth-serving professionals who are interested in learning more about preventing TDV. When this training refers to teens, it means young people from pre-teen (11) throughout adolescence (early 20s).
  • Loveisrespect: Loveisrespect's purpose is to engage, educate, and empower young people to prevent and end abusive relationships. They provide information on dating basics, healthy relationships, and types of abuse; downloadable materials, statistics, and toolkits for educators; access to help for individuals, someone else, or legal aid; quizzes; and resources dedicated to TDVAM, including the Respect Week Guide 2018 (PDF) to inspire high schools, college students, and youth leaders to actively and creatively promote messages about dating violence and healthy relationships.
  • Preventing and Responding to Teen Dating Violence: This special collection was established by VAWnet, a project of the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence. Resources are organized by TDV prevention and responses by different populations including young people, bystanders, parents and caregivers, men and boys, teachers and school-based professionals, healthcare professionals, pregnancy preventions programs, and domestic violence and sexual violence service providers.
  • Teen Dating Violence: This website offers resources for educators and young people, signs that may point to an unhealthy and/or abusive relationship, and articles on various legal and social topics of interest.
  • 2018 TDVAM Hashtags:
    • #TeenDVMonth, #TDVAM, and #TeenDVAM: Use these TDVAM hashtags to spread awareness and join in conversations.
    • #DoYourPart and #HandsUnite: Use these hashtags to promote TDVAM and related activities.
    • #orange4love: Use this hashtag for Wear Orange Day (Feb. 13)
    • #RespectWeek2018: Use this hashtag to promote Respect Week (Feb. 12-16)
    • #loveisrespect and #loveisrespectofficial: Use these hashtags to share what love and respect mean to you.    
For more information on TDV, its consequences, and its prevention, visit the CDC's TDV web page.  

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Recognizing Mental Health Disorders in Others
Organization: Justice Clearinghouse
Date: February 13, 2018 at 1:00 PM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free

Title: Natural Disaster Awareness for Security Professionals (AWR-322)
Organization: National Disaster Preparedness Training Center
Date:  February 14, 2018
Location: Highland Heights, KY
Fee: Free

Title: 2018 NAMI National Convention
Organization: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Dates:  June 27-30, 2018
Location: New Orleans, LA 
Fee: Registration fee

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar.

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This project was supported by Grant No. 2013-MU-BX-K011 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance. The Bureau of Justice Assistance is a component of the Office of Justice Programs, which also includes the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the National Institute of Justice, the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, the Office for Victims of Crime, and the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking. Points of view or opinions in this document are those of author and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the US Department of Justice.