The history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is the stuff of legend. The red tunic is recognized internationally as a Canadian icon, second only to the maple leaf itself. The legendary courage and perseverance of the force’s members has been an integral part of Canadian popular culture for well over a century.
But service in any police force comes with a price often paid by those giving so generously to ensure the safety of others. Research shows that police officers are affected by their daily exposure to human indecency and pain; that dealing with a suspicious and sometimes hostile public takes its toll on them; and that the shift changes, the long periods of boredom, and the ever-present danger that are part of police work, do cause serious job stress.
Medical experts and doctors warn that the unrelieved effort to cope with stressors can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, ulcers, digestive disorders, and headaches. Spouses and family members should be taught to look for these symptoms as police officers will often exhibit the symptoms associated with PTSD at home and attempt to mask these symptoms at work.
War Horse Awareness endeavors to provide a resource of programs available that address a broad range of responses to police stress. Some programs focus on physical fitness, diet, relaxation, and biofeedback to cope with stress. Others emphasize family counseling to involve spouses in reducing police stress.