Janice McCarthy’s husband, Paul, died from suicide in July of 2006. Paul had been a well respected Massachusetts State Police Captain. During his 21-year career he suffered three serious line of duty accidents, which proved to be the etiology of his PTSD.
Her passion is rooted in helping surviving families find the strength to reconcile the guilt so many suicide survivors experience. She draws upon her personal experience as a cop’s wife, and now as a cop’s widow, to connect with officers. She knows the law enforcement life and has been openly accepted by those to whom she has spoken.In her training of officers, Janice uses Paul’s story to illustrate the need for all officers to reach out for mental health assistance without fear of repercussion. She calls for an end to the age-old stigma of asking for help. She clearly articulates how the “good old boy - suck it up” mentality was instrumental in fueling her husbands’ deterioration.
- Janice is a board member of Badge of Life, a nonprofit organization which promotes psychological survival for first responders.
- She is a recipient of The Commendable Service Award from the City of New Haven Connecticut and the Departmental Award of Education from the New Haven Connecticut Police Department for her devotion to the cause of suicide prevention and PTSD awareness in law enforcement.
- She is the founder of C.O.P.S.S. (Caring Of Police Suicide Survivors), which is a nonprofit foundation formed in her husband’s memory and dedicated to their children Christopher, Paul and Shannon.
The foundation provides Care and Support for law enforcement suicide survivors and suicide prevention training for law enforcement.She considers her greatest achievement to be her three children whose strength and love fuel her.
Shannon McCarthy is the daughter of Paul and Janice McCarthy. Paul was a Captain in the Massachusetts State Police when he took his own life in July 2006 after a long battle with PTSD. Shannon has pursued PTSD and trauma within her education. She has interned in the Premont Lab at Duke University, which studies cellular pathways involving GIT-binding proteins in mice exhibiting PTSD-like states. Currently, Shannon is an undergraduate at Brown University, where she studies English and Biology and hopes to complete an independent study on trauma within literature. She hopes that she can use both her personal experience and education to help others through C.O.P.S.S..