Law Enforcement Mental Health




Sunley, Robert

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Law enforcement mental health has been a taboo topic for many years. Law enforcement professionals will receive hours on hours of training on how to physically handle the duties and tasks that are completed on a day to day basis. Law enforcement personnel will see and experience some of the most horrific tragedies. What is not taught to a law enforcement professional at the beginning of one’s career is how to handle their feelings after being involved in a deadly force incident where they almost died, responding to a call where there are dead bodies of children and adults, and the seeing an video/image of a young child being sexually assaulted by an adult. Law enforcement officers historically just “suck it up” and go on. As a result of this type of inaction with one’s thoughts and feelings are summed up as, “What’s wrong with me” and “I can’t show weakness to my buddies or coworkers”. These inactions turn into depression, withdrawal from the family, may develop a substance dependency, divorce, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts, and suicide. Law enforcement leaders should address the suicide rate along with the mental health of personnel within this profession. Law enforcement leaders should monitor personnel assigned to high-risk assignments such as investigations that involve homicides, narcotics, and child abuse. Law enforcement leaders can use a peer led support program with clinical oversight to address the mental health needs of their people within an organization. Law enforcement leaders that embrace the peer support concept will help change the stigma of mental health help for their officers and change the culture, so personnel are not suffering in silence any longer.



Police Psychology, Police--Mental Health