Mental illness issues are much higher in first responders than in civilians. Deterioration of mental health is observed in criminal justice and public safety professionals during their time of service due to the nature of their job. With this in mind, it becomes imperative to provide first responders with the tools to help them overcome the challenges that come with the job.
Dr. Gabrielle Salfati is back on the Justice Clearinghouse to discuss the extent of stress and burnout in first responders and tools to address these. Dr. Salfati is a Professor of Psychology and the Director of the Investigative Psychology Research Unit at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. Her focus is serving law enforcement and mental health professionals through practitioner-focused and evidence-based approaches.
Specifics of the webinar include:
- Researches providing context and demonstrating the extent of the problem, its negative impact on the workforce, and the lack of effort to provide the help needed to address mental health concerns.
- Stress: What it is and how it can be beneficial at a certain level and destructive in excess.
- Burnout: It’s definition, juxtaposing it to stress, its characteristics and manifestation, and how it is limited to the occupational/organizational context.
- Comparing compassion fatigue to burnout – the similarities in symptoms and the difference in the causes.
- John Jay College’s ongoing systematic review that confirms the high number of burnout in the profession.
- The three categories of adversity that law enforcement and first responders tend to experience, examples of each, and how each of these tends to bleed into each other.
- The concept of resilience as a learnable skill set that allows us to struggle well.
- The link between happiness and resilience and the elements which our level of resilience is attributed to.
- The importance of our state of mind and self-care to build resilience.
- The four tenets of resilience and tools that enhance these to prevent and overcome burnout.
- Mental resilience which focuses on mindset, utilizing reframing, overcoming the negativity bias, and getting back our control of the circumstances.
- Emotional resilience that highlights the importance of emotional self-regulation, building up positive emotions, and practicing emotional intelligence.
- Spiritual resilience which involves energy management, leveraging our innate strengths, and identifying the meaning and purpose of our lives.
- Physical resilience that promotes regulating our physical response to stress through mindfulness, rest, exercise, and nutrition.
- Research in the area of resilience and burnout that found correlation of high-level resilience to:
- Desired characteristics as self-efficacy, autonomy, optimism, creativity, and flexibility.
- Increased neural structural connectivity, valuable skills as problem-solving, emotional regulation, and stress management, and better outcomes in various areas of life.
- Decreased likelihood for depression, stress, and anxiety.
- A study that emphasized the lack of proactive programs focused on resilience building in the mental health efforts of US law enforcement agencies.
- The Law Enforcement Resilience Training Impact Research that aims to:
- Capture resilience, psychological factors, and overall wellness across ranks and roles.
- Use insights from the research to deliver the necessary training on each tenet of resilience.
- Measure the impact of the training to develop a structured evidence-based and practitioner-informed program that has the most impact in the least amount of time.
Questions raised by the audience were about:
- Taking control of things outside of your control.
- Avoiding burnout when transitioning into a leadership role.
- Tools to develop resilience.
- Convincing organizations and leadership on the value of ongoing proactive resilience training.
- How burnout can spill over into one’s personal life and how COVID exacerbated this.
Other Webinars with this Speaker:
- Investigative Psychology: The Latest Science on Offender Profiling and Serial Crimes
- Burnout in Law Enforcement and First Responders: Building Resilience and Reclaiming Your Energy (this webinar)
- Feb 17: Linking Serial Sexual Offences: The Latest Science
- March 29: Serial Offences Part 2 (tbd)
Resources and Handouts
- “I appreciate that examples were given to show how stress/burnout affect other portions of my life that I didn’t even think of….” — Alexia
- “It was an eye-opener to see so many people poled the same answers as I did.” — LATOYA
- “The burnout framework was great. Now need to know techniques to actually address the issue.” — Michael
- “Today’s webinar provided me with a chance to pause and relook at myself and my resilience.” — Michele
- “All of us are headed to burnout without the proper tools for dealing with stress. Resiliency is a great tool for helping to manage all of the stressors we face.” — Tom
- “The most valuable thing I learned was that I am not alone in how I feel. Thank you for an amazing training.” — William
- “A very knowledgeable and practical speaker! After everyone struggled through the Covid Era, with time management, now it’s TIME for ENERGY Management! The awesome quotes are right on target! THANK YOU for helping me change the way I look at things so the things I look at, change!!!” — Roseann
- “I liked the idea of challenging one’s self to figure out our best resilience tools. I see a high amount of corrections fatigue in our staff, and I think that may help guide or adjust a little, in the areas in which staff have little or no control. Thanks so much! I greatly enjoyed the webinar.” — Denise
- “I liked the self-care in the multiple areas. Usually, you just hear about mindfulness, which is good, but it was good to hear about all the areas we should work on for our own well-being.” — Diana
- “Having a better understanding of burnout, such as the signs of burnout. In addition, I found it helpful to hear about the types of resiliency and ways we might be able to work on our resiliency to improve our overall quality of life. “– Kenneth
- “That work is the biggest causal factor of stress. Additional feedback is to give more detail on tools for resilience, etc. rather than just telling me what they are. Really enjoyed the presenter.” — Kerry
- “The overall topic presented today was beneficial, with a key quote ” If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change”…I appreciated the interactive questions you posed to us, interesting percentages among the group!!” — Kim