Trauma Director: Death Notifications Are "Hallowed Ground"

The Scranton Times-Tribune ran a feature yesterday that aptly portrays the impact one caregiver is having in the aftermath of suicide in her community. In "Therapist on Front Lines of Suicide," staff writer Chris Kelly tells the story of Jean Rosencrance, Director of Trauma Services for the Lackawanna County District Attorney's Office, who is responsible for death notifications.

Ms. Rosencrance wears many hats. She counsels victims, survivors and police, fire and emergency personnel, is a SWAT team negotiator and a terrorism threat analyst. She is also a mom to three teenagers, and as much as her years of training and experience, it is that job that qualifies her to knock on the doors of homes that will be broken by what she has to say.

In the county where she works, "since 2005, 18 ... families have been rocked by youth suicide, six in 2010 alone." Death notification in those instances, says Rosencrance, "is like being on hallowed ground."

'Honestly, I am in awe of the human spirit, and how these families pull together. It's inspiring. Everyday problems don't get me down. Bad-hair days aren't a problem for me. I have a different perspective. I could be that mother.'

For a review of the basic principles of death notification, please download the article "Death Notification: The Toughest Job in Law Enforcement" from Police and Security News, a national magazine for law enforcement and homeland security workers.

An excellent overview can also be found in Nancy Davis's "Death Notification Training Video," a free online video, which Davis created while serving as Chief of Counseling Services for the Employee Assistance Unit of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.