The Importance of Addressing Mental Health in the Aftermath of Critical Incidents
We received some great questions regarding how the Patrol has assisted Wade’s co-workers and those on-scene that night, as they work their way through processing the multitude of emotions that arise during traumatic events.
A few days after the shooting, we held a critical incident debriefing. A debrief is for those involved in a critical incident to join and talk about concerns and just get any weight off their chests. It also serves as a support structure for everyone. We had a successful debriefing Tuesday night with around 40 in attendance. We also had approximately 5 peer support troops there who did an outstanding job reaching out to the entire district.
The Patrol has troopers trained in peer support that have been made available to their colleagues. In addition our Human Resources staff have been wonderful at sharing other resources available to employees via the state such as the Employee Assistance Program.
Captain Chad Dever who supervises the Patrol’s peer support program explains: “After a traumatic experience, our bodies are full of negative chemicals. The best ways to rid ourselves of these and feel better are water, exercise and rest. Negative behaviors such as alcohol consumption are counterproductive. The simple act of talking about experiences has proven to be very therapeutic. This is what debriefing peer support both emphasize.”
Photo shows two MHP Honor Guard members standing outside of Trooper Palmer’s hospital room in Salt Lake.