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"When I first started writing Overcoming the Darkness; Shining Light on Mental Illness, Trauma, and Suicide for Law Enforcement, my audience was clear. I was writing for my fellow colleagues in law enforcement – the officers and their supervisors who keep our world safe and often pay a high price for fulfilling their duty.  We often think of that price in terms of physical loss.  What was clear to me is that the price is equally steep mentally and emotionally.

My intention was to give a raw accounting of my own experiences, coupled with knowledge gained from 20 years of teaching literally thousands of officers in all aspects of law enforcement about suicide, trauma, and mental illness."

Sgt. Eric Weaver (Ret.)

Chapter 1:  Darkness of the Heart And Soul               
Chapter 2:  The Making of a Law Enforcement Officer   
Chapter 3:  The Cost of Silence                       
Chapter 4:  Breaking the Silence                        
Chapter 5:  Stressors and the Police Culture             
Chapter 6:  Debunking the Stigma of Mental Illness 
Chapter 7:  Understanding Depression               
Chapter 8:  Pathways of Stress and Trauma             
Chapter 9:  Phases of Cumulative Stress            
Chapter 10: The Pain of PTSD    
Chapter 11: Overcoming Addiction and Compulsive Behavior 

Chapter 12: The Ultimate Consequence: Suicide      
Chapter 13: Shining the Light on Family                    
Chapter 14: Achieving and Maintaining Emotional Health 

Chapter 15: Change is Necessary


“Eric’s honest introspect reflects seldom understood law enforcement cultural norms that often negatively influence officers’ emotional well being. His profound anecdotes portray the hallmarks of so many feelings and emotions experienced by officers suffering in silence and offers the reader a rare glance at influences that impede treatments. Eric’s lived experiences, peer observations, and professional citations attest not only to the emotional truths and stigmas so many of us experiencing mental health challenges face, but also presents opportunities for others to notice, better understand, and intervene effectively. Eric provides proven approaches and resources that can make differences in so many lives.  The consequences of an officer’s reluctancy to pursue help and avoidance by others is necessarily imbedded in these pages, shadowed by pathways and powerful themes of hope, courage, and recovery. I offer not only my credible endorsement of this book’s meaningful and impactful content, but also a living example of its potential to save lives. I’m not certain I would be alive to write this endorsement for not Eric’s application of this book’s purpose in my life.”


Capt. Joe Coffey (Ret) Warwick, RI Police Department

Former Capt. with Donald Wyatt Federal Detention Facility

Former SSGT, U.S. Army, Instructor, Rhode Island Military Academy 



“I believe that any police officer, or the ones who love them, who read this book and are honest with themselves, will see themselves somewhere or what actually happens within the pages.  The first step is recognizing there is an issue; the book will help to see oneself and with giving some direction for the next step.  Eric Weaver looked and talked the part of a tough, no nonsense, by the book officer and ultimately the same type of sergeant.  Eric was a leader on patrol and ETF (aka SWAT).  It was crushing to learn the pain Eric was really dealing with and still struggles with.  However, I still see Eric as a leader; this time he is trying to save the life and soul of the officer from pain and suffering. “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13  Eric is laying (out) down his life for his friends!”


Capt. Mark Case (Ret) Rochester, NY Police Department




“Eric does a great job of providing insight from a true to life perspective.  The bravery in publishing his stories adds to insight for others and furthers the de-stigmatization of an officer asking for help. The truth needs to be told.  Law enforcement organizations need to learn from Eric’s truth and provide mental health programs and services for their own officers.  We need to know it is okay to love this job, know it takes its toll, and know our organization has our back.” 


Sgt. Kiersten Harzewski, New Mexico State Police.




“This is one of the best books on First Responder Suicide Prevention and Wellness I have ever read.  Those of us who have had the privilege to be taught by Eric Weaver or teach alongside him know how fortunate we are.  His knowledge has helped me maintain my own emotional wellness and given me tools to look after those officers I work with, those who I supervise and, most importantly my family.  One of the best things about Eric's book is the focus on families.  That is going to be unbelievably impactful and help so many first responders and their families.  I really haven't seen that in any other books or articles on first responder wellness.  I thank God that Eric had the strength and courage to write this book from a lived experience perspective to let all First Responders know that no matter how bad they feel, recovery is possible.”


Capt. Jeremy Romo, DSN 3126

St. Louis County Police Department

Bureau of Tactical Support

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