Those of you who follow me know of my passion for ensuring that our First Responders have access to Wellness and Resiliency programs and clinicians to help them address the Critical Incident Stress they experience over their careers.
I need to make it clear that those resources are not limited to those First Responders who are still actively serving. The Critical Incident Stress – the bad memories – do not disappear when someone signs the paperwork to transition from Active to Retiree. If anything, losing contact with that Police or Fire family and informal support network can exacerbate the stress.
Within the past two days, the Chicago Police Department community was rocked by the news of two retiree suicides. In one of those, the retired officer lost his son, who was also a CPD Officer, to suicide ten years ago.
So I’m reaching out today to our retired brothers and sisters. You’re still part of the family. I know the CPD Employee Assistance Program covers Retirees, and I sincerely hope that your local agencies do as well.
If your agency does not provide services for retirees, take a look around – you’ll find a group or a clinician that will. You don’t need to continue to carry those memories and that stress around with you.
In the Chicago area, clinicians who specialize in serving the First Responder Community include: Robert Sobo, M.Ed, Psy.D. at CPD EAP, Kammie Juzwin, Robin Kroll, Psy.D, ABPP, Carrie Steiner, Terry McCormick, PsyD.
And for our colleagues that are still active – reach out and check-in with the retirees you know. They were your role models, your mentors and your friends. They looked out for you when you worked with them, so repay it by looking out for them.
As a Retiree you have a new assignment: take care of your health, travel and do those things you missed out on, spend time with your family and friends, and collect lots of pension checks. Be well!