Preventing stress disorders for law enforcement officers exposed to disturbing media
Murphy, Matthew G.
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The law enforcement officer's job is both physically and mentally challenging. In an instant, officers can be thrown into extremely stressful situations. Officers and intelligence analysts continually view disturbing images during their time in the unit—some must watch child pornography, and others prison torture, as part of their daily duties. This thesis explores how law enforcement departments can prevent secondary traumatic stress disorder (STSD) among officers. Although limited in part by the police culture, the research examined several currently utilized programs that teach coping mechanisms, including SHIFT, peer support officer programs, and critical incident stress management. The research also examined approaches being utilized by the military to treat returning soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), including group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and service dogs. Further research should be conducted to discover law enforcement programs that proactively treat the mental health and wellness of all their officers—not only those exposed to disturbing media.
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