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Spouses of deputies find support for PTSD

Posted at 4:53 PM, May 13, 2016
Pasco County deputies never know what a day on the job holds.
 
A welfare check in Holiday this week turned violent in an instant, with the suspect hitting a deputy across the face.
 
And it’s the threat of danger that causes great stress, not only for those in law enforcement, but their spouses too.
 
Sometimes it rises to the level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
 
“Spouses can experience it. It’s a new experience. As soon as you get thrown into it, it’s another thing you aren’t prepared for,” said Tammy Lane, who’s husband is a Pasco Sheriff’s deputy.
 
To help the husband and wives of deputies deal with the stress, the Sheriff’s office offers a Spouses Academy.
 
Lane says it’s an emotional experience to share stories and fears. And learn how to better deal with loved ones who wear a badge.
 
“They might not bring the stories home with us what they dealt with specifically, but the sheriff’s office did a great job of showing us and teaching us what a little sentence could have actually been,” she said.
 
Corporal Alan Wilkett said sometimes the families of deputies have even more stress than the deputies themselves.
 
“We are out there with our partners. We are out there running from call to call and families are sitting at home wondering what’s happening,” he said.
 
Studies show about 10% of law enforcement offers are dealing with PTSD, but almost half experience at least some of the symptoms.
 
Wilkett said it’s only natural to think families could have issues as well.
 
“If we are going to have a mentally and emotionally healthy workforce out in the cruiser, we also have to have a healthy safety net in the home that can support those when they come home from that stressful day,” said Wilkett.
 
To help deal with possible PTSD, depression and other trauma, the Sheriff’s Office directs spouses to mental health resources. There’s also a chaplain. 
 
But the greatest support, may come from just being able to talk with someone who understands.
 
“We are never alone. The sheriff’s or ourselves or our families,” said Lane.