Stress-Management Helps Officers Equipping Them to Cope Is Session's Goal
Stevens, Susan, Daily Herald (Arlington Heights, IL)
Byline: Susan Stevens Daily Herald Staff Writer
When Naperville police discovered three murdered children the day after a decorated sergeant killed himself, the department needed a way to cope.
A debriefing session with a stress-management team helped officers recover from the double punch and get back to work, Sgt. Ken Parcel says.
"It gets us back to being full members of the department, productive, get our minds right," he said. "There's got to be some mechanism in there so they don't carry baggage for a long time."
Parcel and Sgt. Steve Schindlbeck were among 80 DuPage County emergency responders to participate in a training seminar on crisis intervention Friday at Linden Oaks Hospital at Edward Hospital.
The teams help police and firefighters get through traumatic events - such as losing a colleague in the line of duty, responding to a particularly violent crime or handling a traumatic situation.
Jeffrey Mitchell, a former firefighter who developed a group debriefing method more than 20 years ago, said the process differs from therapy, which attempts to alter a person's life over a longer period of time. The group debriefing method works for close-knit, homogenous groups like police and fire departments, the military or corporations, he said.
"What this is about is unit cohesion, unit performance," Mitchell said. …