The numbers facing the men and women who make a career in corrections are troubling to say the least:
- Of all U.S. workers, correctional officers have one of the highest rates of nonfatal, work-related injuries.
- Both custody and non-custody correctional staff have PTSD rates that are higher than war veterans.
- One third of corrections personnel were found to be clinically depressed.
- Correctional staff job stress has been linked to premature death, physical and mental health problems, illness, social problems, and decreased job performance.
Despite these alarming facts, there are plenty of correctional employees who manage not to become a statistic.
Finding mechanisms to cope with the extreme stress and dangers of the job is important, not only for your own health, but for the health of your family as well; indeed the entire community you serve and protect relies on your physical and psychological well-being.
COPING WITH STRESS
A National Institute of Corrections training manual outlines the key strategies for alleviating stress.
Studies show that effective stress managers:
- Know how to relax.
- Eat right and exercise.
- Get 6.5-7.5 hours of sleep a night.
- Don’t worry about the unimportant stuff.
- Don’t get angry often.
- Are organized.
- Manage their time effectively.
- Have and make use of a strong social support system.
- Live according to their values.
- Have a good sense of humor.
Recognizing the symptoms of stress and burnout is also a key component to knowing when it’s time to seek help.
MAKE A SAFE CALL NOW!
If you are depressed, suffering from dependency or substance abuse, having suicidal thoughts, or just need someone to talk to, you can consult with a fellow public safety professional by calling Safe Call Now at 206-459-3020.
Your call is confidential - the Department will not know you are reaching out for help. Take a self-assessment online at www.safecallnow.