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Trauma support


SimonT
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I have noticed that so far this year I have faced more serious and unpleasant jobs, suicides, fatals, child deaths and some heavy work incidents than in recent years and I'm getting close to my limit as are many others. 

Work have a post incident debrief and an EAP which I am led to believe is supportive, if you go for it.

However knowing police officers general attitude of stoically getting through and being generally unlikely to actually engage with many services I am trying to identify something that could be automatically done to support officers. 

We are trialing a trauma monitoring system which records which officers have been exposed to the bad stuff. The question, as yet not answered, is what happens when you reach X amount of trauma. 

I am looking to fill the gap between nothing and the full voluntary EAP. Something that management might accept, but more importantly something that will actually help officers. 

I'm thinking something like a few hours off for gratis, a training day with no training (99% of our training days) simply being a day off. 

Training days including exercise opportunity, voluntary or sponsored. 

Maybe an opportunity to swap departments for a set. 

I'm curious if anyone would have anything they think would be helpful. 

 

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I know that with my own force West Yorkshire we use the 'TRIM' system - details found here.

I can't say I know much about it as I've never had to use it but as I understand a set number of officers and police staff are trained in it and they are the first point of response should an officer/staff need to speak with them. 

I know that the version we use is also tailored for the police a bit more rather than the standard policy. 

Whilst I think the options that you've mentioned are a great idea, trying to have SLT approve them will be another matter.

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TRIM is an excellent first step, allowing a level of quick-time decompression and support from a peer mentor who it's easier to identify with than someone qualified to the eyeballs but removed from the same line of work. Supervisors identifying the traumatic jobs and sourcing a TRIM practitioner, or staff self-referring within that tour of duty I think can make all the difference as the first 12-24hrs after trauma can be decisive as to how you handle it, whereas by the time OHU get around to it that opportunity to talk it through before it plays on the mind is gone. 

Mandatory referrals can be counter-productive, it would be easy to end up with a ham-fisted system where months down the line and long after you've dealt with something you're required to go and rake it all back up again. Better to have that initial support, followed by periodic catch-ups and the provision of further support if needed.

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6 hours ago, Sceptre said:

TRIM is an excellent first step, allowing a level of quick-time decompression and support from a peer mentor who it's easier to identify with than someone qualified to the eyeballs but removed from the same line of work. Supervisors identifying the traumatic jobs and sourcing a TRIM practitioner, or staff self-referring within that tour of duty I think can make all the difference as the first 12-24hrs after trauma can be decisive as to how you handle it, whereas by the time OHU get around to it that opportunity to talk it through before it plays on the mind is gone. 

Mandatory referrals can be counter-productive, it would be easy to end up with a ham-fisted system where months down the line and long after you've dealt with something you're required to go and rake it all back up again. Better to have that initial support, followed by periodic catch-ups and the provision of further support if needed.

I concur, TRIM originated in the military and has been used for years.

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trim sounds interesting, I will have a look and see if it's similar to something we have already. 

I'm trying to think if someone that is less than a formal intervention. Something that officers would find helpful and encourage destressing. Something as basic as being allowed to say, watch a film as a team before briefing, go for a walk, turn your radio off for an hour. 

It would have to be low level with broad appeal and something that could just be done. The reason for the automatic referral is, as you have said, you know of a good process, but haven't done it. I know of many good systems but to be honest I'm unlikely to get involved in them. While I can't necessarily change police culture, I might be able to come up with a small measure to let off the pressure that might help a bit.

So I'm trying to work out what officers would want and would be helpful and something management will buy into. I didn't say it was easy 

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I’m not an officer, but most of that doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe an extra day off or early finish, but other than that no.

I think just being able to talk to colleagues and/or the gaffer - and early, not weeks or months later. 
 

also don’t forget police staff, they might not see as much trauma, but if there’s no support in place (because it is rare) for them it may all go wrong at some point. Not just front line staff, back office support too. 

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29 minutes ago, Techie1 said:

I’m not an officer, but most of that doesn’t appeal to me. Maybe an extra day off or early finish, but other than that no.

I think just being able to talk to colleagues and/or the gaffer - and early, not weeks or months later. 
 

also don’t forget police staff, they might not see as much trauma, but if there’s no support in place (because it is rare) for them it may all go wrong at some point. Not just front line staff, back office support too. 

The whole idea is to have a peer who has similar experiences to down too. 
 

Spending time on your own isn’t necessarily dealing with trauma. 

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21 hours ago, Ether said:

The whole idea is to have a peer who has similar experiences to down too. 
 

Spending time on your own isn’t necessarily dealing with trauma. 

Ahh, but if they can let two people finish early the same day, they could go talk somewhere (pub, coffee shop, etc)

 

 

(Although the chances of allowing two people to finish early… hmm!). 
 

does positive feedback help too? Do you get to hear enough of it, or is it a bit lacking? 

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9 minutes ago, Techie1 said:

Ahh, but if they can let two people finish early the same day, they could go talk somewhere (pub, coffee shop, etc)

 

 

(Although the chances of allowing two people to finish early… hmm!). 
 

does positive feedback help too? Do you get to hear enough of it, or is it a bit lacking? 

There has to be a formal process, letting 2 go early to have the conversation outside of the work place is how it should work. The likelihood is probably slim. 
 

But remember TRIM has been stolen off the military, where close proximity living is common place. 
 

Totally agree on feedback, you usually only get it in a negative way

Edited by Ether
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