Friday, September 13, 2019

First responder PTSD training scheduled for Naperville Oct 9-10, Champaign Nov 6-7

First responder PTSD training scheduled for Naperville Oct 9-10, Champaign Nov 6-7, Metamora Herald

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Public Pension Fund Association (IPPFA) and Northern Illinois University will host training sessions in Naperville and Champaign to help first responder mental health providers better identify and treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD is one of the major factors that has made cases of first responder suicide outnumber all line of duty deaths in the United States.

The training sessions for all Illinois active and retired police officers and sheriff's deputies will be held October 9 and 10 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Naperville Police Department, 1350 Aurora Avenue; and November 6 and 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Illinois Fire Services Institute, 11 Gerty Drive, Champaign. The sessions are free of charge to those who pre-register, and are made possible by a grant from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. Go to, click on Education, then click on Educational Events to register.

“The attempted suicide rate for first responders such as police officers is more than ten times the rate of the general public. First responders often have nowhere to turn when the trauma they deal with every day overwhelms them,” said IPPFA President James McNamee. “This training program is a major step toward saving the lives of these everyday heroes, and I hope we can successfully expand it from these two programs to all areas of the state.”

The Naperville and Champaign seminars for active and retired law enforcement personnel will be conducted by a qualified mental health care professional with the assistance of experienced law enforcement officials. The programs will cover such topics as PTSD symptoms; conditions that are often present with PTSD, including depression and substance abuse; identifying ways to bolster resistance to PTSD; suicide; and effective PTSD treatments.

Northern Illinois University (NIU) and the IPPFA used the $35,773 state grant to develop the program for both sessions and a total of 80 law enforcement officers may attend the seminars free of charge. This fiscal year NIU has been awarded an additional $95,000 for six more seminars and to develop additional trainers. If this initial program is successful, funding may be available for up to three years of outreach and program expansion to include firefighters and emergency medical services personnel.

The IPPFA initiated the idea for the program, providing information and support to NIU during the grant process, and is funding some parts of the program that are not covered by the grant.

A recent study by the Ruderman Family Foundation examined depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other issues affecting first responders and the rates of suicide in departments nationwide. The study determined that first responder suicides outnumber all line of duty deaths in the United States, making it the number one cause of death for firefighters, police officers, probation and corrections officers, paramedics and ambulance personnel.

The IPPFA was founded in 1985 as a not-for-profit organization whose mandate was to educate public pension fund trustees. In 2009 the IPPFA became the primary education provider for public pension fund trustees in the state of Illinois, and its members manage more than $18 billion in pension assets.

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