Relentless Courage - Winning the Battle Against Frontline Trauma

Authors: Michael Sugrue and Shauna “Doc” Springer, Ph.D.


RELENTLESS COURAGE is one of the most important books of our time. Building on her previous book, WARRIOR: How to Support Those Who Protect Us, Doc Springer has teamed with Michael Sugrue to give us the vital, essential, ‘next step forward’ in understanding and healing the trauma inflicted upon our first responders in these tragic, violent times…RELENTLESS COURAGE is truly the natural and essential successor to my book, ON COMBAT.”

– Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, whose book ON COMBAT sold half a million copies

Our first responders are uniquely strong, brave, and emotionally flexible.

They are called to support us on the worst days of our lives. They see and hear things that are burned into their memories forever. They see the worst in humanity and then do their best to be a loving partner, parent, and friend.

On the other hand, they are uniquely vulnerable.

For example, data from Police Forum shows that the risk of suicide among police officers is 54 percent greater than among American workers in general.

Much of what first responders do – the things they see and the personal risks they take – happens outside of our collective awareness. Data published in the Journal of Traumatic Stress reveals that they experience a level of trauma exposure that most of us can’t even imagine. In a sample of more than 700 police officers from three major police departments, on both the east and west coast, over half have been threatened with a gun (51%), knife or weapon (55%), and nearly all (87%) have seen someone dying (87.2%).

First responders are resigning in droves. And they’re dying in record numbers. According to the Washington Post, more officers die by suicide each year than are killed in the line of duty, by all causes.

We are losing good men and women, whose collective trauma, never addressed in an effective way, becomes too heavy a burden to carry. The impact of this trauma deserves to be recognized and addressed. This is an untold story with urgent, global implications.

Best-selling author Dr. Shauna Springer and decorated Sergeant Michael Sugrue tell this story in RELENTLESS COURAGE. Sugrue bares his soul to help save his fellow brothers and sisters in the first responder community, and openly shares the mindsets, private struggles, losses, and personal betrayals that led him to become suicidal at one time. He shares how he healed and what kinds of programs and resources were most helpful in bringing him out of his darkest valley.

Each chapter includes a wealth of original, game-changing insights on trauma from nationally renowned psychologist, Dr. Shauna Springer, one of the world’s leading experts in psychological trauma and healing.

For example…

  • What are some of the worst traumas a first responder can face
  • What kinds of experiences after trauma can make its impact even worse
  • What is the difference between telling our story to heal and sharing about trauma in a way that deepens the trauma further?
  • Does evil exist, or are all of us just reacting to our own unaddressed trauma?
  • How can any of us come back from the places where hope seems to have abandoned us?

Together, Sugrue and Springer tell the story that has been hidden in plain sight and provide perspective, truth and wisdom to help mend the divide between first responders and those they serve, and to help us all heal from our own traumas.

“Unbelievably brave, every American needs to hear this story! Doc Springer and Michael Sugrue have moved the officer wellness conversation a decade into the future.”

– Chris Littrell, Police Officer, Police1 Columnist

Print length

360 pages




Hidden Ivy Press

Publication date

April 29, 2022


A short description of the various therapist certifications in Ontario.

Clinical Psychologists

Clinical Psychologists are required to complete a related Masters and Ph.D. program to practice in the province of Ontario that must be research-based and subsequently have a thesis component. They are governed by the College of Psychologists of Ontario (CPO).

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Registered Psychotherapists

Registered Psychotherapists (RPs) are registered by the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and, like Registered Social Workers and Clinical Psychologists, are permitted to perform the controlled act of psychotherapy.

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Registered Social Workers

Registered Social Workers (RSW) are helping individuals to enhance their well-being. They are governed by the Ontario College of Social Workers.