LAS VEGAS METROPOLITAN POLICE DEPARTMENT ACTIVE- DUTY MILITARY EMPLOYEE PARTNERSHIP
is the sincere goal of the Police Employee Assistance Program (PEAP) to serve
YOU; the men, women and families of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department. We aspire to provide the tools needed to help improve
emotional wellbeing, strengthen relationships, increase morale and build
resiliency within the unique, sometimes challenging, environment of working in
the law enforcement profession. The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police
Department employs extraordinary personnel with an array of experience; with
honor employing active and veteran military members. Your high standard
of excellence transcends into the community we serve. As an active-duty
military member, you serve in a dual uniformed role. Given this,
you and your family may experience stressors unique to these two
professions. At Metro, we recognize this, and want to offer, in
addition to our Police Employee Assistance Program, additional resources to
help minimize the challenges you may face. It is OUR honor to honor YOU-who
serve, not only our Las Vegas Valley, but our great country as well.
To sincerely support those serving both our country and law enforcement agency by recognizing the unique challenges that may arise and offer resources that honors their distinct needs and those of their families.
Why is this program important?
Because we all need a hand up from time to time, but often do not know where to look for reliable, current and sound resources. We want service members and their families to stay healthy and productive long after the call of duty is over. In this resource guide, you will find direct contact information to services such as, coping with pre/post deployment, marriage & family counselors, support chaplains, child & youth programs, employment support, survivor outreach services, family readiness and so much more! But first, let's look at what makes the military/metro employee and their family's needs for these services so vital.
Research has looked at how Veterans react to terrorism. While some studies report that Veterans react similarly to civilians when acts of mass violence occur, other studies report that their negative reactions may last for a longer length of time than civilians. Some Veterans reported that they had more frequent:
- Military and homecoming memories
- Depressed mood
- General distress
- PTSD symptoms
Veterans with PTSD may be even more likely to see their PTSD symptoms get worse if they are exposed to reminders that are similar
to their experiences in the military. For example:
- When Veterans followed news closely, they reported that media coverage of war brought back thoughts and feelings of their own military experiences.
- Recent research found that individuals who repeatedly exposed themselves to disturbing images were at greater risk of developing PTSD over the next two to three years.
- When PTSD symptoms got worse for some Veterans, it may have been related to how closely what they were seeing reflected what they had gone through while serving.
- Veteran gatherings or American symbols with high emotional value also could cause PTSD symptoms to recur or worsen.
Research shows that people who have been through trauma, loss, or hardship in the past may be even more likely than others to be affected by new, potentially traumatic events.
Traumatic events can cause a range of reactions. In response to new traumatic events, Veterans may:
Have general distress or see an increase in his or her PTSD symptoms
Become quick to anger, sleep poorly, or drink more heavily
Try to avoid all reminders or media about the incident, or shy away from social situations in general
How does trauma affect relationships?
Trauma survivors with PTSD may have trouble with their close family relationships or friendships. The symptoms of PTSD can cause problems with trust, closeness, communication, and problem solving. These problems may affect the way the survivor acts with others. In turn, the way a loved one responds to him or her affects the trauma survivor. A circular pattern can develop that may sometimes harm relationships.
Survivors of man-made traumas often feel a lasting sense of terror, horror, endangerment, and betrayal. These feelings affect how they relate to others. They may feel like they are letting down their guard if they get close to someone else and trust them. This is not to say a survivor never feels a strong bond of love or friendship. However, a close relationship can also feel scary or dangerous to a trauma survivor.
Do all trauma survivors have relationship problems?
Many trauma survivors do not develop PTSD. Also, many people with PTSD do not have relationship problems. People with PTSD can create and maintain good relationships by:
- Building a personal support network to help cope with PTSD while working on family and friend relationships
- Sharing feelings honestly and openly, with respect and compassion
- Building skills at problem solving and connecting with others
- Including ways to play, be creative, relax, and enjoy others
PTSD can affect how couples get along with each other. It can also affect the mental health of partners. In general, PTSD can have a negative effect on the whole family.
|Effects on marriage|
Compared to Veterans without PTSD, Veterans with PTSD have more marital troubles. They share less of their thoughts and feelings with their partners. The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study (NVVRS) compared Veterans with PTSD to those without PTSD The findings showed that Vietnam Veterans with PTSD:
- Got divorced twice as much
- Were three times more likely to divorce two or more times
- Tended to have shorter relationships
Families of Veterans with PTSD experience more physical and verbal aggression. Such families also have more instances of family violence. Violence is committed not just by the males in the family. One research study looked at male Vietnam Veterans and their female partners. The study compared partners of Veterans with PTSD to partners of those without PTSD. Female partners of Veterans with PTSD:
- Committed more family violence than the other female partners
- Committed more family violence than their male Veteran partners with PTSD
Mental health of partners
PTSD can affect the mental health and life satisfaction of a Veteran's partner. The same research studies on Vietnam Veterans compared partners of Veterans with and without PTSD. The partners of the Vietnam Veterans with PTSD reported:
- Lower levels of happiness
- More demoralization (discouragement)
- About half have felt "on the verge of a nervous breakdown"
Partners often say they have a hard time coping with their partner's PTSD symptoms. Partners feel stress because their own needs are not being met. They also go through physical and emotional violence. One explanation of partners' problems is secondary traumatization. This refers to the indirect impact of trauma on those close to the survivor. Another explanation is that the partner has gone through trauma just from living with a Veteran who has PTSD. For example, the risk of violence is higher in such families.
Partners have several challenges when living with a Veteran who has PTSD. Wives of PTSD-diagnosed Veterans tend to take on a bigger share of household tasks such as paying bills or housework. They also do more taking care of children and the extended family. Partners feel that they must take care of the Veteran and attend closely to the Veteran's problems. Partners are keenly aware of what can trigger symptoms of PTSD. They try hard to lessen the effects of those triggers.
Caregiver burden is one idea used to describe how hard it is caring for someone with an illness such as PTSD. Caregiver burden includes practical problems such as strain on the family finances. Caregiver burden also includes the emotional strain of caring for someone who is ill. In general, the worse the Veteran's PTSD symptoms, the more severe is the caregiver burden.
What steps can be taken to minimize the effects of trauma listed above:
To help the veteran/active-duty member (police officer)
- Consider limiting your exposure to news on television. While media coverage may draw you in, increased viewing can raise stress levels. Watch yourself for signs of anger, rage, depression, worry, or other negative feelings. Take a time out from the news to let yourself recover from these feelings.
- Keep up with daily schedules and routines. Try to include more pleasant activities in your day, even for brief periods of time.
- Keep up with your body's needs for exercise, food, and sleep.
- Feel what you feel. It is normal to feel a range of emotions. Having these feelings is to be expected. How you deal with them is most important.
- Slow down. Give yourself time and space to deal with what has happened. Remember that people have their own pace for dealing with trauma, including you.
- Count on feeling angry but balance your actions with wisdom. Try to stay calm. Avoid reacting with sudden anger toward any group or persons.
- Talk with someone close to you who might understand what you are going through.
- If you do not feel like talking, writing in a journal may be helpful for dealing with intense feelings.
- Do not avoid other Veterans even if they remind you of your military past. Seeking support from other Veterans can be very helpful when stress is high.
Do not be afraid to ask for help and assistance along the way. There are many resources available to assist you and your family.
Your honorable contribution to our valley and country need not be hindered by the extra weight of what you have given. The following list are agencies open to ALL military branches who will provide you and your family with resources to bridge you from your professional life to your personal life when questions or challenges arise.
*Resource; U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs/National Center for PTSD
Nevada National Guard Family Assistance Offices
Las Vegas: 702-856-4815 North Las Vegas: 702-694-4474
- Family Support Services
- Counseling (adult & youth)
- Military member/family readiness programs
- Suicide Prevention
- Survivor Outreach
- Substance Abuse help
- Work for Warriors
- Education/Training Opportunities
- Family Deployment Coping Strategies
- Financial & Legal Benefits
- Support Chaplains