June 19, 2019

PTSD Awareness
June is PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) Awareness Month and June 27  is PTSD Awareness Day, originally designated by the U.S. Senate in 2014 and 2010, respectively. PTSD is a mental health problem that some people may develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event such as military combat, sexual assault, a natural disaster, or a car accident. For some people, incidents like these evoke upsetting memories or create problems returning to their normal routine for several weeks or months. Not every person develops chronic (ongoing) or acute (short-term) PTSD, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD. 
The NIMH states that to be diagnosed with PTSD, an adult must have all of the following for at least 1 month:
  • At least one re-experiencing symptom (flashbacks, bad dreams, frightening thoughts)
  • At least one avoidance symptom (avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the event, staying away from events or places that are reminders)
  • At least two arousal and reactivity symptoms (easily startled, feeling on edge, difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts)
  • At least two cognition and mood symptoms (negative thoughts about self or the world, guilt or blame, loss of interest in enjoyable activities, trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event)
According to a study conducted by the Eastern Colorado Healthcare System, up to 17 percent of college students suffer from PTSD, a much higher rate than the general population.  Affordable Colleges Online provides college students with information about transitioning to college with PTSD, coping techniques, finding support within the college community, and learning from other students with PTSD.
The National Center for PTSD (NCPTSD) is also helping raise PTSD awareness by encouraging people to take five actions this month.
  1. Help Raise PTSD Awareness: There are approximately 8 million people living in the U.S. with PTSD. Learn more from the complete guide Understanding PTSD and PTSD Treatment (PDF).
  2. Spread the Word: Share materials about this important month with your campus community, community partners, and others. Use these outreach ideas (PDF) as a starting point for your activities.
  3. Partner with the NCPTSD: Join the list of those working with NCPTSD to spread awareness. Take the raise PTSD awareness pledge (PDF) to have your name added to the website.
  4. Understand PTSD: Start by understanding the PTSD basics. You can also expand your knowledge by participating in free, continuing education courses from the NCPTSD. Professionals can earn continuing education credits for most courses.
  5. Get Support: Although the NCPTSD does not provide direct, clinical help or referrals they provide information to help people connect with local mental health services and information on PTSD and trauma. You can find a therapist and get help for veterans or family and friends.
According to the journal Clinical Psychology, people who have PTSD are between two and four times more likely to struggle with addiction than their peers who do not have the disorder. If a person is coping with both PTSD and addiction and seeking help, it's important to find therapists or treatment centers that are equipped to deal with both conditions simultaneously.
For more information on PTSD, please visit the NIMH and the NCPTSD.

Have You Applied for HSIN Access?
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is committed to sharing timely, relevant, and accurate information with its campus safety and law enforcement partners. Members of these communities raised questions about access to intelligence and analytical products, noting that these items are essential for maintaining situational awareness and safety. To meet these needs, the Office of Partnership and Engagement/Office for State and Local Law Enforcement (OPE/OSLLE), with assistance from the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis (I&A), is facilitating requests for Homeland Security Information Network (HSIN) membership for interested campus safety/police departments.
HSIN is DHS's official system for trusted sharing of Sensitive But Unclassified information between federal, state, local, tribal, territorial, international, and private sector partners. Mission operators use HSIN to access Homeland Security data, send requests securely between agencies, manage operations, coordinate planned event safety and security, respond to incidents, and share the information they need to fulfill their missions and help keep their communities safe. The HSIN Basics Fact Sheet (PDF) highlights more uses for HSIN and the HSIN Features Fact Sheet (PDF) outlines the benefits and capabilities HSIN provides to support your mission from daily operations to emergency response.
Information posted to HSIN originates from stakeholders responsible for many aspects of homeland security operations (e.g., fusion centers, state and local police departments), so users can be confident in the products' analyses and conclusions. In addition to receiving access to DHS products, authorized users may post their own publications (e.g., "be on the lookouts" and other alerts, fact sheets) to share information with neighboring jurisdictions or request information from other departments. Examples of previously posted products related to campus safety include the DHS/Nationwide Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) Initiative (NSI) Campus Safety Fact Sheet, intelligence bulletins, and assessments on threats to special events or critical infrastructure.
HSIN uses a model of focused mission growth to set goals that prioritize quality of the user experience while delivering value to partner organizations. One of the accomplishments highlighted in HSIN's 2018 Annual Report (PDF) is the launch of the Georgia School and Campus Safety (GSCS) HSIN community. In Georgia, collaboration across education systems and law enforcement partners poses a challenge as there are 130 K-12 school districts and 2,300 school facilities that serve 1.7 million students, in addition to 124 four-year universities and two-year colleges. The establishment of the GSCS HSIN community has facilitated effective planning and public safety communication among all universities, colleges, K-12 schools, local law enforcement, state agencies, and federal partners.
Many applicants are sworn police officers; however, non-sworn campus safety officers who are sponsored by their local municipal police department may be eligible for access to specific communities. Campus safety and police officers are strongly encouraged to apply for HSIN access and membership to the appropriate HSIN community. Visit the HSIN webpage to learn more about how to join the network. You may also contact HSIN Outreach to ask any questions about the program.

Professional Development Opportunities

Title: Protecting Against Stress & Trauma: Research Lessons for Law Enforcement
Organization: National Institute of Justice
Date: June 28, 2019 at 10:00 AM ET
Location: Online
Fee: Free
Title: Train-the-Trainer Workshop
Organization: VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Program
Date: July 18, 2018
Location: Lexington, SC
Fee: Free
Title: National Conference on Law Enforcement Wellness and Trauma
Organization: Concerns of Law Enforcement Survivors
Dates: November 8-10, 2019
Location: Oak Brook, IL
Fee: Registration fee

For additional trainings and events, access our searchable online calendar

Virtual Professional Development
Through our Virtual Professional Development initiative, you can access free, online educational opportunities.
Campus Public Safety Online
Learn about our free webinar series, register for upcoming webinars, and view archived recordings on demand.
Emerging Issues Forum Reports
Download, print, and share findings from critical issues forums of campus public safety leaders, subject matter experts, and practitioners.

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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.
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