What is the Peer Support Team?
 
 
Almost everyone - at one time or another - experiences an event that is traumatic or highly stressful.  For police employees this trauma is often considered "part of the job".  Unfortunately, burying emotions, refusing to accept help, and refusing to admit to being hurt can also be part of the job.  As a result, we have historically been more likely candidates for heart disease, diabetes, divorce, alcoholism, and suicide than the general populace. 
 
Peer support programs are growing nationwide.  They provide the opportunity for police employees to help other employees.  Peers who have "been there" use their own experience and training to help their colleagues.  The help may focus on the stress and trauma of the job but peers are also available to help with difficult situations that arise in one's private life, such as a death in the family, marital or monetary problems, substance abuse, or debilitating illness or injury.
 
The PST is committed to helping you and your family understand, adjust to, and recover from those incidents which can be overwhelming.  All of us in the police community are committed to helping others, but in helping others we often forget that we, at times, need help ourselves.  We, the members of the PST, are there for you during those times.  We are committed to helping you any way we can. 
 

 What We Offer
 
 
The Peer Support Team provides initial crisis intervention services to all Police Department employees and their families who seek or require assistance in the aftermath of a critical incident.  The Team is activated and directed by the licensed and experienced psychological staff of the Police Stress Management Team.  The goal of the team is to proactively lessen potentially negative reactions to adverse or stressful incidents occurring on the job or in the employee's personal life.  We offer emotional support by being there in difficult times to empathize with and listen to you.  Hopefully, we can educate you about normal human response to abnormal events to help lessen anxiety.  We also act as a conduit for information regarding other resources that are available to you and your family.  .
 

Anonymous
 
In any interaction with the Team, your identity will be known only to the Team member and (if necessary) the SMD staff.  Records kept of the interaction will not carry any name or other designation that may identify you.  The Team member will take no notes concerning any contact with you.  If you elect, anonymity will extend to those situations where you notify the Team with a concern about another Department employee.  The only time this information will ever be divulged is when and if you direct us to use your name or your story to assist others who may find themselves in a similar situation to yours. 
 

Confidential

 
Team members are committed to the principal of confidentiality and have been selected based upon their individual character and integrity.  Utilization of the Peer Support Team is treated confidentially and in accordance with Maryland law, FOP contract, and APA.
 

Available

 
The Team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through either ECC, SMT, or the Team Coordinator.  There will be some circumstances where a supervisor or SRO notifies us of a situation under the dictates of FC222.  In those situations not enumerated under the directive, you, another employee, or family member can contact us anytime there is a concern about the physical, mental, or emotional health of anyone within the Department "family".  You can call Corporal Frank McAtee personally at 240-876-8095, or the Stress Management Office main line at 240-773-6040 anytime for more information. 
 

Remember
 
The Peer Support Team was developed by - and is made up of - Montgomery County Police Department employees, and was developed to assist Department employees and their families.  Any participation on your part is entirely voluntary and will be kept completely confidential.