Clinic provides grief counseling for police officers, others exposed to trauma daily

By Haley Hernandez - Health Reporter

HOUSTON - Some people have the perception that our community and our country are becoming increasingly more violent. The Menninger Clinic says that perception can lead to depression and anxiety, which can be more common with certain professions: police officers, military and doctors, who are exposed to trauma every day.

"I think about it every day, that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night, it weighs on my mind constantly. This killing it has to stop," said a physician at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

Dr Michael McClam, associate chief of inpatient services at Menninger Clinic, says this kind of emotional havoc affects police, military, doctors, EMTs, media members and activists just to list a few.

"What happens with those responders is that they feel their feelings aren't necessarily normal, or they feel they're alone in them, but talking about it, talking through it helps them understand that what they experience is normal and that it's universal," Dr. McClam said.

He says constant exposure to trauma is detrimental if we do not have a support network to talk with, or find other healthy ways to cope.

"We want to try to think about maintaining your overall sense of wellness, even though these particular traumatic times, so that's whether it's eating right, getting good sleep, getting exercise," he said.

It might sound too basic to focus on eating right and good sleep hygiene, but for people who live by that, McClam says it really does work.

Also, it might feel inappropriate, but the cliché, "laughter is the best medicine," can also help. Dr. McClam says laughing with coworkers can help relieve the stress of serious situations.

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