Leading Stories, Articles

July 9th, 2021

Massachusetts legislators address law enforcement mental health issues

By Phyllis Hanlon

Almost every occupation carries some degree of risk to physical and mental health. But for those in law enforcement, the chances of suffering from both are significantly higher.

A 2020 survey of 1,355 active-duty law enforcement officers revealed that between seven and 35 percent suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is nine to 10 times greater than seen in the general population.

Additionally, 29 percent of the sample reported moderate to severe anxiety, which is two times greater than in the general population; and 37 percent of the sample had moderate to severe depression, five times more than in the general population.…

June 26th, 2020

Domestic violence helpline callers are just trying to manage

By Janine Weisman

Numbers don’t tell the whole story when it comes to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on rates of domestic and family violence.

Calls to SafeLink — Massachusetts’ statewide domestic violence hotline at 1-877-785-2020 — initially decreased about a third and then ramped back up in April and May to about 90 percent of what they were pre-pandemic, according to Casa Myrna, Boston’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter and supportive services.

Maine’s domestic violence resource centers also saw an initial decline in helpline calls and reach-outs when COVID-19 hit. Then, requests for emergency shelter were significantly down through the month of April, according to Regina Rooney, education & communications directorfor the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence.