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Tragedies like those that occurred at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT in 2012 and Pulse nightclub in Orlando, FL this year have had a profound effect on those communities and our entire country. Despite media perceptions, the relation of mental illness to violence is very low. But violent tragedies do affect the mental health and emotional wellbeing of every member of the community—from victims and their families, to healthcare providers, first responders and news reporters.
Long after physical wounds have healed, those closest to the violence may experience the effects of trauma. At an individual level, violence can affect pre-existing mental health conditions or lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). At a community and national level, news reports and images in the media can have a traumatic impact on everyone.
In response, NAMI, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), released the report Preparing for the Unimaginable: How chiefs can safeguard officer mental health before and after mass casualty events. The report serves as a roadmap to help law enforcement agencies plan to manage officer wellness in the aftermath of a tragedy, from dealing with the media to coordinating with other agencies around mental health.
Join us for a webinar on Tuesday, Nov. 1 from 2:00-3:30 p.m. EST featuring a conversation with police psychologist Dr. John Nicoletti and retired Newtown, CT Police Chief Michael Kehoe, moderated by Laura Usher, NAMI’s senior manager for criminal justice and advocacy. This robust conversation will shed light on the report and next steps in putting mental health measures into practice after mass casualty events.
Michael Kehoe retired this year after 15 years as Chief of Police in Newtown, CT. He directed the police response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012, where 26 students and educators were murdered. He now champions police officer wellness.
Dr. John Nicoletti is a police psychologist with wide-ranging experience, including supporting law enforcement agencies in responding to the Columbine shooting, the Aurora movie theater shooting, and numerous other mass casualty events.
Laura Usher is NAMI’s senior manager for criminal justice and advocacy, and served as project director for the development of Preparing for the Unimaginable.