Posts Tagged ‘helen foster-grimmett’

Central Saanich Police Service and Area Police Officers Benefit from #TranscendentalMeditation

October 29, 2017

The Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative—the women’s wing of the Transcendental Meditation organization in Canada—has partnered with the Central Saanich Police Service [CSPS] near Victoria, British Columbia to offer Transcendental Meditation to their officers and staff. Given how stressful law enforcement can be, this comes as welcome news, for police officers and the general public.

Victoria TM Teacher Helen Foster-Grimmett

Victoria TM Teacher Helen Foster-Grimmett

Helen Foster-Grimmett, a longtime certified TM Teacher and Director for Women at the Victoria, British Columbia TM Center, read a CBC News report on a 2015 study that found more than 30 per cent of Vancouver police officers have PTSD.

The study, conducted by Kwantlen Polytechnic University psychologist Lisa Kitt for the Vancouver Police Union, surveyed officers in the Vancouver Police Department. Of the 1,100 officers who were emailed questionnaires, 765 replied, a participation rate of more than 70 per cent, which is considered extraordinarily high for a social sciences study. The report found that approximately 32 per cent of the respondents were in the diagnostic range of PTSD.

The results show that police departments must address the mental health issues confronting officers. “They’re suffering,” Kitt said in an interview. “They’re suffering and they want people to know.”

Kitt explained that the post traumatic stress experienced by officers is the result of years of stressful job-related calls, witnessing distressing deaths and repeated violence.

Moved by the article, Helen decided to reach out to the Central Saanich Police Service with a solution. When she mentioned the 30% statistic in her presentation to the Central Saanich officers, some indicated that it may be higher, since officers may not want to report signs of PTSD due to concerns they may be overlooked for promotion.

Central Saanich Police Service and Area Police Officers Learn and Benefit from Transcendental Meditation

Police Chief Les Sylven

CSPS Police Chief Les Sylven

When Helen Foster-Grimmett approached CSPS Police Chief Les Sylven to ask him about including their wellness program for his officers and staff, he agreed, based on his own personal experiences with the meditation technique. “I feel very fortunate to have found TM early in my policing career. I believe daily TM practice has helped me deal with the long-term physical and emotional demands that come with serving the community through police work.”

Chief Sylven said that his TM practice helped him stay calm, present, and focused during many high-risk and complex situations. With regular TM practice, he believes that other police officers would experience similar benefits, including decreasing the wear and tear caused by years of shift work and sudden adrenaline surges, which may lead to serious illnesses.

Constable Kathleen Thomson

Constable Kathleen Thomson

Kathleen Thomson, Constable [retired], who was with the Saanich Police Department for over a decade, also took the wellness training with the CSPS officers. After being instructed in TM, Thomson said she found that each sitting of meditation was like having a restorative vacation.

“Afterwards I have sustained, fresh energy. I feel far more settled, and little things that used to bother me, don’t as much anymore.” She says she feels more present, and more easily able to listen to and engage with others without her mind wandering. “Each sitting of meditation leaves me feeling both incredibly relaxed and energized at the same time. I wish I’d discovered TM years ago.”

Reviewing the ongoing project, Police Chief Sylven said, “Recently, we have been very fortunate to have some of our staff trained in TM. This training has included not only our police officers, but also our valuable civilian employees who support them. They are often the first to interact with the public when they need help.”

Less Reactive, More Responsive

Although it has only been a few months since the program was introduced, some of Chief Sylven’s people are already noticing subtle differences, including feeling less reactive and more responsive. At the end of the day they often sit to meditate together.

“This is particularly rewarding for me,” says Sylven, “as I know how important it is that we go home to our loved ones and families feeling calm, present, and at our best for them.” To better support officer wellness Police Chief Sylven feels it would be ideal to have a meditation room in every police department in Canada.

Along with the Central Saanich Police Service officers, several officers from other policing departments also took part in the training.

Helen Foster-Grimmett has been invited to join Chief Sylven in speaking about this wellness program for police officers at the Central Saanich Police Service during an upcoming conference that will be attended by 11 British Columbia municipal Mayors, 11 Police Chiefs, and 11 Police Boards.

Watch this David Lynch Foundation video of what one veteran police officer and his family in the US went through and how TM helped them: Protecting Those Who Protect Us: PTS Relief for Officers of the Law.

Researched TM benefits specifically relevant for police officers

• greater resilience
• greater ability to focus and have broader comprehension at the same time [field independence studies; formerly thought to not improve beyond early adulthood]
• faster reaction time
• decrease in PTSD
• decrease in general stress
• better decision-making [fewer “knee-jerk” reactions] and higher moral reasoning
• reduced insomnia, anxiety, depression
• reduced alcohol or substance abuse
• reduction in high blood pressure
• reduction in sick days
• increased brain coherence
• restfully alert mind
• increased energy, less fatigue
• decreased cortisol [stress hormone]

Contact information

For more information about the Transcendental Meditation program for police officers at the Central Saanich Police Service and on-going outreach programs, contact Helen Foster-Grimmett at MEC-Victoria@telus.net.

To find out more about the Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative, phone 1-888-821-3016, email infocanada@tm-women.ca, or visit www.tm-women.ca.

For information about the Transcendental Meditation program in the US, visit www.tm.org and www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Updated: October 31, 2017

Related news: Norwich University, oldest private U.S. military college, benefits from Transcendental Meditation and

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‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD? Article for Ageless Living by Helen Foster-Grimmett

December 14, 2012

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD?
By Helen Foster-Grimmett

Tonight, my husband told me that this article lacked pizzazz. I said: “Sorry, my serotonin is seasonally challenged – no sparkle.” I find myself standing in front of travel agency windows mesmerized by posters of sun-drenched Hawaii, Mexico, Barbados. Mauritius looks delicious.

By Christmas – the season to be jolly – some people have been feeling sad, down, or downright depressed since the onset of autumn. And they’ll motor on through to the first buds of spring feeling the same way. If you are one of those people, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about five million Canadians experience the “winter blues,” a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. At least two to three percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed as “SAD” – an apt acronym. People with SAD often feel a sense of happiness on a cloudy day when the sun peeks through the clouds, then deflated when the clouds cover the sky again. It’s as if the clouds are a manifestation of their minds. For people with SAD, those inner clouds can be dark, and they sometimes don’t lift until the spring flowers bloom and sunshine is more constant. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that women are more at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder than men: eight times as many women as men report having SAD. Although the reasons for this are not defined, one suggestion is that women may spend more time indoors with their children than men and, therefore, less time in sunlight.

Sunless and SAD
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they generally link it to lack of sunlight. SAD is rare in those living within 30 degrees of the equator, where daylight hours are consistently long and bright. It is more common in northern countries, including Canada, where bright winter sunlight is sparse. Lack of light may upset our cycles and other rhythms. It may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin, which affects mood. People with mild winter blues manage to cope throughout the season. However, those diagnosed with SAD could feel more severe symptoms, including:
• Depression, apathy, negative thoughts, loss of self-esteem
• Sleep problems
• Lethargy, fatigue
• Overeating or little appetite
• Difficulty with concentration and memory
• Withdrawn – finding it hard to be around people
• Anxiety
• Inability to deal with stress
If you are affected by any of these symptoms, take heart: there are remedies that work wonders for SAD.

Relief for SAD Symptoms
Millions of people with SAD have been helped by the work of Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renowned psychiatrist. Rosenthal and his team at the National Institute of Mental Health pioneered research that first led to describing Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the use of light therapy to treat it.

According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association in the UK, “light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of diagnosed cases.” Light therapy is now routinely prescribed for SAD in northern countries, but at the time Rosenthal and his team first used it, the results were dramatic. In his New York Times best-selling book Transcendence, Dr. Rosenthal recalls a comment from one of his colleagues. He had noticed a remarkable change in a patient who had been having light therapy for SAD for just one week: “I don’t know what treatment she is receiving, but she’s blooming like a rose!” A vivid metaphor for our need for light from the life-giving sun.

Dr. Rosenthal’s other guide for readers who suffer from SAD is called Winter Blues. This book provides a self-test that readers can use to evaluate their own seasonal mood changes, presents remedies for SAD, research on the use of medication, and new recipes to counterbalance unhealthy winter food cravings. A cautionary caveat: if you or someone you know is seriously depressed, it is imperative to seek professional advice, as depression can be debilitating or even life-threatening.

The good news? The incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder decreases with age. So for all you seniors out there, as we approach the holiday season, ‘tis truly the season for you to be jolly!

Helen Foster-Grimmett writes on issues of health, education, and stress management. These days you may find her outside travel agency windows, looking wistful. Article references available upon request.

This is Helen’s 2nd article for the Canadian magazine, Ageless Living. You can read her first article there: The Answer To Cancer.

For more information on Dr. Norman Rosenthal, his work and books: Winter Blues, and Transcendence, visit: http://normanrosenthal.com.


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