Building Resiliency for Law Enforcement Officers by Providing Mental Health Wellness Training and Peer Support Teams

Date

2023-02

Authors

Nieto, David A. Jr.

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Abstract

Societal views of police officers’ place unrealistic expectations on how they handle the aftereffects of traumatic events. However, the reality is that they are human just like the rest of the community they serve and in fact do carry emotional scars from traumatic events. Officers continued exposure to stressful traumatic events that they encounter throughout their careers eventually takes a toll on their emotional wellbeing. A culture needs to be established both in society and the law enforcement community that realizes officers are human and understand and accept the need of mental health resources for officers. If officers do not have these resources and support from leadership it will lead to negative coping mechanisms such as drinking, substance abuse, anger, resentment, divorce, or worse suicide. Law enforcement agencies should recognize the need for mental health wellness training and use of peer support teams for its officers. It is imperative that law enforcement agencies build a culture that promotes the mental wellness of its officers by providing them training, internal and external resources. Law enforcement agencies who take a more proactive approach will help eliminate the negative stigma associated with officers seeking treatment for mental health issues. Law enforcement agencies need to adapt to the changing conditions of the external social environment but more importantly they need to adapt to their officers so that they put them in a position to be successful and resilient.

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Keywords

Police--Mental Health, Police Psychology

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