Incident in the Workplace? 5 Ways to Pick up the Pieces and Move Forward

For law enforcement officers, incidents on the job — either with coworkers or civilians — can be directly related to mental health issues. Being triggered on the job and responding inappropriately to a situation, or responding to a non-urgent situation with unnecessary force, is very frequently connected to an untreated trauma disorder.

Though this can be a life-altering event, there is healing and hope through the following:

1. Follow protocol. When tensions are high and significant trauma symptoms are manifesting physically and emotionally, it is normal to feel disconnected, scared, and unsure of what to do next. Protocol is a saving grace in these situations as it provides a standard for what to do next.

2. Check in with your superior. Talking to your boss is going to help you determine how to address the situation in the moments and days following. It can give you an understanding of what you can expect over the coming months and what will be required of you.

3. Work with a personal therapist who trained to deal with first responders. You will need to talk to someone about what happened — what led up to the event, what happened during it, and what followed. Talk about all the challenges you are facing, not just at work, and give yourself permission to really invest in the discussion to determine the best path forward.

4. Connect with mental health treatment. A comprehensive treatment program will help you to create positive coping mechanisms to manage symptoms and also help you in addressing the current issue as calmly and efficiently as possible.

5. Consider the need for addiction treatment. If you are using drugs and alcohol in an attempt to manage your mental health symptoms, addiction treatment for co-occurring disorders is the best way to help you avoid future mental health-related incidents at work and in your personal life.

Making It Work on the Job

At American Addiction Centers, we offer a First Responder Lifeline Program that connects police officers who are living with active addiction with a program that is designed based on the unique issues faced on the job. With a customized treatment plan designed to address the needs and situations that are commonly experienced by law enforcement, officers in our First Responder Lifeline Program will receive:

· A PTSD evaluation and assessment to identify all issues related to trauma

· Treatment provided by therapists experienced in working with first responders

· EAP/MAP interaction

· Family support to help loved ones be a positive part of the recovery process

When an incident happens at work that triggers entry into treatment or could potentially trigger job loss unless treatment is sought, reintegration is a careful process. It is important that officers feel ready to go back to work and have the support necessary to smoothly move from active treatment to meeting the expectations of the job. Every department has a process, and this process may vary depending on the nature of the incident in question, so it is important to continually check in with your liaison, mentor, or superior to make sure all the criteria are being met.

Let American Addiction Centers help you go back to work the right way. Call 855–997–6542 now to learn more about our highly rated First Responder Lifeline Program.

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