Police officers across the nation respond to thousands of calls for service as they serve and protect the general public. These brave men and women are expected to carry the burden of many while facing adversity from all directions. Unlike a normal Monday through Friday, nine to five job, police work is far from being a normal job. There is nothing normal about some of the events and circumstances in which officers are being exposed to while expected to be strong and emotionless.
Unfortunately for some officers, the burden is too much, and they cannot cope with the stress, causing them to develop suicidal ideation or complete suicide. As cadets in the police academy, these individuals received training on different topics that range from emergency vehicle operations to defensive tactics, but there is no training when it pertains to emotional survival. Law enforcement agencies should provide officers with resources and assistance to improve mental health and well being.
Some officers are reluctant to seek assistance because they do not want to be categorized as being “weak” or a burden to anyone else. It is important for departments to train their personnel to recognize when an officer is in distress and have options available to help the officer. Having an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) or creating a peer group can be two ways to assist these officers while remaining low cost avenues for officers and their agencies.