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POPPA: Using Volunteer Peers for Building Resiliency and Suicide Prevention
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POPPA: Using Volunteer Peers for Building Resiliency and Suicide Prevention


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From DCoE's January 2011 webinar "Best Practices in Peer-to-Peer Support Programs" …

From DCoE's January 2011 webinar "Best Practices in Peer-to-Peer Support Programs"

Bill Genet, BS, CEAP
Founder and President

Frank Dowling, MD
Medical Advisor
POPPA Inc., Clinical Associate
Professor of Psychiatry, State
University of New York

Webinar audio:

Published in: Health & Medicine

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  • 1. POPPA: Using Volunteer Peers for Building Resiliency and Suicide Prevention Police Organization Best Practices in Peer toProviding Peer Assistance Peer Support Programs Monthly Webinar, DCOE January 27, 2011 Bill Genet, BS, CEAP Founder and President, POPPA Frank Dowling, MD Medical Advisor, POPPA Clinical Associate Professor of 1 Psychiatry, SUNYSB
  • 2. Similarities Between Military and Law Enforcement ExperiencePsychological Complications Barriers to Seeking Help Post Traumatic Stress Fear of Work Consequences – Altered Career Path Institutional Stress – Loss of Weapon – Loss of Assignment Alcohol Abuse Fear of Stigmatization by Peers Marital/Family Problems Feelings of Personal Weakness or Failure Excessive Aggression Distrust of Agency Internal Suicide Psychological Services Distrust of Mental Health System 2
  • 3. POPPA-NYPD PartnershipStarted in 1996, in Response to Suicide Crisis26 NYPD Suicides Mid 1993-1995Independent, Confidential Voluntary Peer Based AssistanceProgram for NYPD OfficersPeer Role Defined as Separate from Agency Role,Supervised by POPPAConfidentiality for All POPPA Interventions– Written Agreement with Agency– Ironclad Protection of Both Peer and Client– Only Exception is Imminent Danger to Self/Others– Because Volunteer Peer Role is with External Agency, Trust in Confidentiality is Higher 3
  • 4. Volunteer Peer Support Officers (PSO’s) Volunteer for the 24/7 POPPA Help-Line in Addition to Their Regular NYPD Assignment Screened by POPPA Administration, Peers and Clinicians Available for Additional POPPA Initiatives and Provide Surge Capacity for Mass Casualty Event Importance of Volunteer Peer-Not Voluntold– Credibility with Rank and File of NYPD– Establishes Volunteer Peer as Role Model for Fellow Officers– Volunteerism Ensures Highest Quality of Personnel and the Maximum Delivery of Services– Reinforces the Cultural Imperative that Officers Take Care of Their Own… NO ONE LEFT BEHIND 4
  • 5. POPPA Clinical PanelIndependent Mental Health/Substance Abuse Professionals:– Screened, Trained, Monitored by POPPA– Coordination and Communication with POPPA Only– Raises Trust in ConfidentialityIndependent Practitioners and Agencies in NYC andSurrounding Counties-Raises Trust in ConfidentialityProvide Treatment and Support Peer Based InitiativesProvide Surge Capacity for Mass Casualty EventFaculty Appointments– Medical Schools: NYU; Columbia; Cornell; Mt. Sinai; Stony Brook– Other University Settings: Adelphi; Iona; Hofstra; John Jay 5
  • 6. 24-Hour Peer Help LineCornerstone of POPPA ProgramVoluntary Clients, Self Referrals OnlyFace-to-Face Meetings at Non-Agency LocationNo Referral Without Face-to-Face MeetingAll Conversations Strictly Confidential– Not Part of Employment Record– Not Subject of Any Official Enquiries 6
  • 7. POPPA Help Line Results: 12,061 Calls 1996-200970% of Calls Result in Peer to Peer Meeting40% of Callers Accept a Clinical Referral90% of Cases Continue to Work Full Duty Without AnyRestrictions10% of Cases Use Confidential Sick Leave90% of Sick Leave Cases Return to Full DutyOver 80 Suicides Prevented (High Risk Officers Who StatedDefinitively That They Would Have Committed Suicide ifPOPPA Were Not Acceptable and Accessible to Them) 7
  • 8. POPPA Programs24 Hour Help Line Remains theCornerstone of POPPA InterventionsTRT (Trauma Response Teams)– Post 9/11 Response Effort– Project Liberty POPPARetired Officers ProgramPeer Support Groups-Military ReturneesRSP (Resiliency Support Program) 8
  • 9. Officers Perceptions of POPPA NYU Study Compared External POPPA Program and InternalNYPD Peer Based Program (Early Intervention Unit) – 184 Members of the NYPD Participated in the Study: – 89% of Respondents Were Satisfied or Very Satisfied with POPPA Services, Compared to 58% for EIU – 93% of Respondents Would Recommend POPPA Services to a Fellow Officer, While 50% Would Recommend the EIU Program – The Majority of Respondents Believe That POPPA Services are Confidential Anonymous Exit Surveys-Over 85% of Participants – Believe the Intervention was Helpful – Would Recommend the Intervention to Fellow Officers – Believe That Resiliency Support Program Should Be a Part of Annual Training 9
  • 10. NYPD Suicide Rates 1986‐2010 45.00 40.00 35.00 37.08Suicide Rate  41.08 30.00per 100,000 23.2125.39 26.14 31.32 25.00 23.10 18.60 23.1226.53 20.00 23.83 13.31 17.68 15.00 12.91 1986 3.72 22.62 1987 1988 10.0812.33 19.58 1989 1990 1991 1992 11.01 10.00 1993 11.22 1994 1995 5.08 1996 1997 8.33 1998 1999 8.36 2000 5.00 2001 2002 2003 5.67 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 0.00 2010 Year 10
  • 11. NYPD Suicide Rates 1986‐2010 30.00 27.04 23.94 25.00Suicide Rate per 100,000 20.00 14.49 15.00 1986‐ 12.65 1990 1991‐ 12.90 10.00 1995 1996‐ 2000 2001‐ 5.00 2005 2006‐ 0.00 2010 Year 11
  • 12. POPPA Contact InformationBill Genet, Founder and President212-298-9111BILL.GENET@POPPANEWYORK.ORGMAPBILL@AOL.COMFrank Dowling, Medical Advisor631-656-0472DOWLING7@MSN.COM 12