Why Peer Support?
“We don’t have to do all of it alone. We were never meant to.” Brene Brown
Police families know what the thin blue line means. It stands for the sacrifice law enforcement officers make each day on the job. But we, as spouses/families are also a part of that thin blue line. We make sacrifices every day and feel the heartaches and challenges that come when our officers are on duty. Whether you are a brand new police family or a veteran police family of 15+ years, you know how challenging this career can be to balance a family life. Being a police family comes with a unique set of circumstances, most of which, our friends and family can’t even understand, even if they try. There are missed family events, birthdays, holidays and if we are not careful, our world can become isolated and resentful.
I truly believe that how we approach this police life, will determine our success and the fun that we can have within it. But I don’t think we can do it alone, and that is where the importance of connection comes in. Connecting with people that understand the uniqueness this career can bring is vital to our ability to cope with the challenges within it. For example, on our Beyond the Blue Facebook page (which we use a security protocol that ensures it is safe and 100% confidential for our police families), we quite often see posts of spouses that have cooked a beautiful dinner, only to get the phone call, “Sorry, I’m going to be late”. Or the mom’s on Mother’s Day unable to celebrate or be honored by their officer, but in turn find another police spouse dealing with the same thing and get together. We have events that bring mom’s together with young children. We have a Critical Incident Support group. We have a book club and educational events. We are always looking for ways to find connection and a place where you feel supported, like you belong and that you are not alone.
For some of you, you may have met one of our board members at recruit class family night. For others, you may have heard from a friend that is already in the group. And for some of you, you may not even know who we are. Beyond the Blue was created 5 years ago with the intention of bridging the gap that tends to happen between police officers and their families. Quite often our officers are inundated with emails and information, so the resources and events that apply to families doesn’t actually reach the families. We are extremely fortunate to be in the Calgary Police Service, with the amount of resources that are available to our officers and to the families.
Beyond the Blue now ensures that those resources are being shared and passed on to the families. This includes psych services, family events, ways to connect as police families and this also includes our own peer support team. This team has received training through Alberta Health Services and additional training through the Calgary Police Peer Support team. We are in contact and in conversation with our in house psych services team. We are here to support and encourage you through the ups and downs of your police life. Maybe you are struggling with being scared or nervous on night shift, or unsure if you are alone in your officer being a little “off” on his first day off, or maybe just afraid of making that first call to psychological services. That is where our peer support team comes in. My advice is: don’t wait until you are in a crisis to reach out. We are here for you and want you to succeed.
Beyond The Blue Peer Support
BTB Peer Support is a peer-led, informal model of support whereby people with a shared or common lived experience support one another in means of listening, mentoring, sharing, suggesting resources and more. BTB Peer Support has a team who has received specific and ongoing training to support CPS police spouses, common law partners, families and more. Confidentiality is paramount.
How does it work? Email BTB Peer Support specifying interest in accessing our Peer Support service and we will connect you with one of our trained Peer Support team members; based on either location & proximity, or circumstance.
Please reach out: firstname.lastname@example.org