The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma: Impacts, Considerations, and Responses

The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma: Impacts, Considerations, and Responses
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2020-08-13
Unit 1Slide Deck: The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma
Unit 2Transcript: The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma
Unit 3Workbook: The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma
Unit 4Recording: The Contagiousness of Vicarious Trauma

Everyone can experience trauma, for individuals working in industries that deal with critical incidents and emergencies, the risk of exposure to trauma is further aggravated. The community’s helpers need help too. And it is up to the agencies, leadership, and policymakers to ensure that they get the help they need even before they need it so the community can continue to rely on them.

This session’s resource is Dr. Obed Magny. He has 15 years of experience in law enforcement, is a founding member and executive member of the American Society of Evidence-Based Policing (ASEBP), a National Institute of Justice LEADS (Law Enforcement Advancing Data and Science) Scholar Alum, a Policing Fellow at the Police Foundation and the current President, CEO, and Founder of Magny Leadership.

Points tackled on this session are:

  • What trauma looks like in real life through Junior and Obed’s story and the options one may take to deal with it.
  • The apparent indifference within the public safety arena on the mental health crisis that most of its professionals are subjected into.
  • The most common reasons why public safety professionals experience stress in the workplace.
  • What trauma is and what creates it.
  • The concepts of PTSD, vicarious trauma and secondary trauma, and how these develop from exposure to traumatic events – be it direct, indirect, prolonged, or one major incident.
  • The different elements in a public safety professional’s life that converge and create trauma in the present time.
  • A study conducted following controversies the police departments of Norman, Oklahoma and Salisbury, North Carolina entangled with.
  • The study’s findings that reveal:
    • The officers’ assessment of their mental health.
    • How the incident motivated law enforcement officers to become more intentional of their decision making and cognizant of their tactics.
    • How the event influences the communities’ opinions about law enforcement.
    • The most experienced detrimental symptoms that the impacted officers exhibit.
    • The officers’ perceptions of their agency’s concern for their well-being.
  • Statistics that highlight the greater likelihood of those working in the law enforcement field to experience PTSD, anxiety, and depression than the rest of the population.
  • Debunking myths linked to trauma and PTSD.
  • Practical tips that anyone may take to work on, address, and heal trauma through self-care, setting boundaries, and self-awareness.
  • The importance of acknowledging how everyone can experience trauma and proactively addressing stress before it becomes too big of a problem.
  • Resources and references to get support from and education regarding trauma.
  • Anecdotes and cases that illustrate how trauma impacts people

Questions from the audience were about:

  • The statistics presented.
  • Inherited trauma that gets passed on through generations.
  • The value of being proactive and collaborating with victim advocates, mental health professionals, and the support of leadership and policymakers to address trauma within the ranks.
  • The different sectors impacted by trauma.
  • What cumulative trauma is and how it manifests.


Audience Comments

  • “As a manager for our victim advocates, it helped me see clearly the trauma officers face!” — Sierra
  • “The image of crocodile underwater was spot on. When we don’t take care of ourselves we miss important things.” — Amber
  • “Practical examples to tie the language of trauma. We need those anecdotal stories that hit home with those we teach while supporting the evidence.” — Teresa
  • “I think that the subject of victim advocates being helpful to police officers….I think hearing an ex-officer say how important victim advocates are or should be, to law enforcement. I think that the healing portion of the presentation was helpful.” — Dan
  • “The presenter was engaging and very animated.” — Delicia
  • “I just found it extremely interesting and helpful to receive information and recommendations about vicarious trauma from someone in law enforcement…that was a first for me. Thank you!” — Jane
  • “I love how Dr. Magny was very honest, no “sugar-coating” — Jacqueline
  • “The Q & A was the best part because I think Dr. Magny got to really show his depth and understanding on this topic, which I found very interesting.”  — Lenzi


Additional Resources
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