Virginia: Putting the breaks on PTSD

The Virginia PBA and the Police Benevolent Foundation hosted a second in what will be a series of PTSD and suicide prevention seminars on March 28th.  The Behind the Badge program, which was created with a purpose of combating PTSD and reducing the incidences of law enforcement suicide, is a collaborative effort with the In Harm’s Way and Mississippi L.E.A.P.S. programs headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida and Meridian, Mississippi respectfully.  This event was organized thanks to the interests and efforts of Mark Geier and Lt. Mark Posch – both from the Norfolk Police Department.  Geier, after attending a previous Behind the Badge seminar, realized that it would be a valuable resource for the Norfolk district. He enlisted the help of Lt. Posch and the two secured the use of the Norfolk district station.

Most of the officers who attended the event were public servants from the local police jurisdictions.  Many traveled as far as Richmond to attend.  Because of the severity of the subject matter and the prevalence of suicide within the law enforcement profession, the Foundation works hard to include family members, friends, and administrative personnel in all of our seminars.  Without making a concerted effort to include the peers and familial relations, the efforts to reverse this growing trend of self destruction will be much more difficult.

The most common impressions created by the seminar that (1) law enforcement suicide is a much larger problem than expected, (2) there is a great need for exposure of the ill effects of PTSD and its linkage to suicide, and finally (3) work must be done to reverse the growing trend of law enforcement suicide.

If you would like more information about the Behind the Badge program, or if your department is interested in hosting a seminar, please contact the PBF.  You can also visit our website to find a collection of resources and additional information about this hidden epidemic.  All of us must do our part to affect the change.  Suicide is preventable.

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