By OPEC Staff
Suicide is one of those subjects people don’t like to talk about, or even think about.
But when the stresses of life build unrelentingly, those thoughts can occur, and the Office of Employee Wellness (OEW) wants CDCR employees to know that help is available.
The Peer Support Program (PSP) recently established a suicide prevention program. As part of the new program, OEW is providing suicide prevention pocket guides to every CDCR employee to ensure awareness of the program and the resources available.
Rosanna Rodriguez, Statewide Peer Support Program Coordinator in OEW, said the suicide prevention pocket guides have been distributed to institutions, parole offices and other CDCR field locations through the local Peer Support Teams.
On Tuesday, Sept. 4, OEW staff will begin handing out the pocket guides in-person to all HQ staff in the greater Sacramento area, Rodriguez said. Pocket guides will be mailed to Regional Administrative Offices to distribute to staff in the field.
An audio CD version of the guide is available for visually impaired staff members.
The pocket-size guide lists some of the resources available to CDCR staff members – not only to those experiencing stress or having suicidal thoughts, but also for staff members who may be concerned about a co-worker.
In addition to the resource section, the guide is divided into seven sections: understanding suicide; prevention; motivations for suicide; clues to suicide; intervention; important questions; and helping survivors.
The Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is another great resource that can help. Rodriguez said, “EAP provides a wide variety of services – marriage counseling, financial and legal services, resources for relocation, and even help finding day-care or elder-care help. Taking advantage of such services, which are available without charge, can help relieve or reduce stress.”
EAP is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week; toll free at (866) 327-4762 or by visiting the EAP Website and registering with access code: soc.
The PSP was established to ensure that staff members involved in work-related critical incidents are provided resources to deal with the immediate effects of a traumatic incident.
Local Peer Support Teams consist of ancillary and custody staff at each institution or parole office. The Office Employee Wellness staff is the Peer Support Team for Headquarters; however all CDCR locations have peer support available thru PSP teams.There are more than 900 CDCR staff trained in peer support.
“Take time to get to know your local PSP team,” Rodriguez said. Posters with names and phone numbers of the PSP team leaders are displayed at CDCR locations statewide.
PSP teams have helped many CDCR employees and their families get through traumatic events that have taken place at work. The team members understand the impact an incident can have not only on the employee, but their family as well.