Surviving Inside and Out© is an evidence-based program in wellness education and action. It is a comprehensive approach to individual and organizational emotional and physical health that is made up of three integrated components.
- Organizational and cultural diagnostics
- Classroom education
- Resources for recovery
We have created SIO to serve the men and women who dedicate their lives to serving as public safety professionals. Our purpose is to provide, through our experience, education and commitment, practical and effective solutions to the problems of stress management within the police and corrections environments and that confront every professional every day. The outcome we seek is a corps of professionals who survive –and thrive — inside and out: within their organizations and institutions and outside in their personal lives; in their hearts and minds and in the attitudes they present to the wider world every day.
We look forward to working with senior executives to customize the Program for the distinctive needs and circumstances of your organization.
We also offer confidential, individual referrals free of charge at any time to any officer, regardless of whether your organization hires us. If you or someone you know in law enforcement is suffering with any addiction(s) or problems related to stress, please reach out to us. Contact Pat, our PSL associate (see his bio on the home page), at 781-353-4190.
Every law enforcement professional experiences the physical, emotional and psychological effects of stress. Officers at all ranks must operate in a physical state known as hypervigilance in order to be safe and effective in their work, s Dr. Kevin Gilmartin has so ably demonstrated in his research. Hypervigilance is a physiological response to risk in the work environment.
The service is not set up to help personnel manage this reality successfully. Generally, tradition of self-reliance combined with a scarcity of time and other resources have made it difficult for thoughtful leaders and managers to develop long-term, comprehensive answers to the effect of hypervigilance..
The hypervigilance response on the job is normal. Indeed everyone’s safety depends on it. Hypervigilance is what the medical community calls an autonomic response, meaning roughly that it is automatic. We do not control it. The ways in which personnel manage these effects off the job are within an individual’s control. But only of he or she knows what he or she is experiencing and has tools to manage the experience.
Former corrections executive Carl ToersBijns writes,
“… stress is a silent killer because correctional officers are typically reluctant to share their feelings of uncertainty, helplessness, or inadequacy with anyone for fear of appearing weak, incompetent, or too indecisive to do the job.”
Gilmartin and others have demonstrated plainly that physiological hypervigilance affects EVERYONE who puts on a badge. Law enforcement professionals must maintain a state of hypervigilance because if the ever-present unknown risks that define policing. Many professions are more lethal than corrections and policing. But the risks are known. In law enforcement the risks can and do come from anywhere. No one escapes the effects. The brain automatically shifts to a hypervigilant state when the human pins the badge on his or her chest and goes to work. That’s because the brain has been trained by evolution over many millennia to get you home after the shift.
Officers if given the right setting will talk about the emotional damage they incur from a sense of helplessness in the face of human suffering. The experience of hypervgilinace and engagement with human suffering wears down the physical, emotional and spiritual/psychological systems of our personnel. The effects accumulate. It strikes hardest at the veteran in his or her 30′s with 10+ years on. Remember, it’s with this young veterans cohort that we see the greatest concentration of suicides, in a profession whose suicide rate is very significantly above the national average. Cops commit suicide almost at what everyone acknowledges is the hideously high rate of suicide among military service personnel. Some studies have found that the rate among corrections professionals greatly exceeds the rate among military personnel.
1. Organizational and cultural diagnostics
Through extensive interviews with staff members we diagnose organizational practices and structures, looking for ways to reduce workplace stress. We will present you with a plan for eliminating and mitigating these effects. When diagnosed and addressed effectively the points of organizational conflict or disconnection can serve as leverage points for improved productivity and morale. The model we use a model employed by William J. Bratton when he served as commissioner of the NYPD.
Where is there conflict in the organization what can senior management do to correct it? What steps can management take to mitigate and eliminate the points of conflict that evolve in every organization over time?
Eliminate internal conflict.
Create resources for emotional, physical and psychological needs of the staff.
Identify and develop appropriate programs and venues for intervention.
Revise policy and procedures on employee wellness and assistance
2. Classroom education
The SIO Workshop© is 1½-day training program that provides participants the facts about the stress inherent in the public safety professions. It empowers personnel to think about their own strategies for surviving and thriving; for developing a practical, individualized program for living healthy and happy professional and personal lives.
We will do follow-up focus groups with smaller groups of participants to assess progress.
We would offer the class once every week over the course of 50 weeks to reach every employee in the organization.
The SIO Supervisory Leadership Workshop© is a two-day course that provides sergeants and lieutenants the opportunity to learn from their own experiences to develop into the best leaders they can be. It draws from our highly-rated Sergeants’ Leadership Program. Supervisors will learn how to lead more effectively and how to look out for their own emotional survival. They will develop new competencies and skills in leadership methods, decision-making, creating ownership and accountability, communications, group dynamics and other areas.
3. Expanding access to resources
We serve as intermediaries to a strong network, that we organized for this purpose, of culturally competent, credible professionals. We guarantee the most assistance for your personnel, guided by the values of respect for individual dignity and airtight confidentiality.
- Substance Abuse
- Substance abuse counseling
- Detox placement
- Residential treatment placement
- In-patient/out-patient hospital treatment
- Family counseling
- Individual Counseling
- Critical incident debriefing
- Suicide prevention in accordance with the CMRs
- Legal counseling
- Financial counseling
- Physical Health
- Personal training