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NCJ Number: 193572 Find in a Library
Title: Spirituality and Police Suicide: A Double-Edged Sword (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 503-510, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Joseph J. D'Angelo
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 8
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Quantico, VA 22135
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Behavioral Science Unit FBI Acad
Quantico, VA 22135
United States of America
Document: PDF|PDF
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article defines "spirituality" and discusses how it can be used as a resource in preventing police-officer suicide.
Abstract: "Spirituality," which is broader than the concept of "religion," involves an individual's relationships with three realities: a transcendent higher being, one's self, and the universe (including other individuals). Within each person there is a yearning for connection with these realities; lacking these connections, human beings experience a void or emptiness. Misguided and dysfunctional efforts to fill this void include the pursuit of drugs, alcohol, sex, money, material possessions, power, status, and fame. As these pursuits not only fail to fill the void but intensify it, a sense of desperation and hopelessness emerges. The pursuit of spirituality addresses one of the root causes that can lead to suicidal ideation, i.e., low self-esteem. As a person experiences the three dimensions of spirituality, there is a sense that one is loved and special in relationship with a transcendent being, and this translates into a new sense of the value of oneself and the value of others. Stemming from these new attitudes are goal-oriented behaviors that focus on positive contributions through occupational endeavors and nurturing interactions with others. Through pastoral counseling by a chaplain or other clergy, healthy spirituality can be a resource for police officers in dealing with troubled interpersonal relationships and marital difficulties. The common element and major contributor to police- officer suicides is the inability or refusal to seek outside assistance. In addition, the practice of spiritual love can be a framework for restoring and maintaining quality interpersonal relationships. Under an evolving healthy spirituality, hopelessness is dispelled to be replaced by a new sense of inner power and control, and self-destructive behavior is replaced by a new awareness of one's value and potential for positive contributions to others.
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Chaplains; Counseling techniques; Police occupational stress; Religion; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
Note: A paper submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, September 1999.
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