Mandatory Mental Health Initiatives




Hopkins, Joseph L.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)


Law enforcement agencies have an opportunity to spark positive change by recognizing the presence of mental health issues in law enforcement officers and implementing proactive mental health programs. Law enforcement officers deal with great amounts of stress throughout their career and a lot of times there is little the organization offers for them to cope or manage those stressors. Mental health issues have a negative stigma in law enforcement and if nothing is done this can lead to catastrophic consequences. Law enforcement agencies should require frequent mandatory participation in mental health initiatives as a proactive measure to addressing negative effects from long-term and short-term mental health issues. This would provide an avenue for early detection and intervention, would increase resiliency, and would promote a positive culture of acceptance by law enforcement from top leadership to the everyday officer. Issues such as stigma, privacy protection, and costs tend to get in the way of progress however with a new way of thinking, along with active support and inclusion of leadership, the negative stigma associated with mental health issues can be changed. Federal and state laws, as well as confidentiality agreements, will assist in ensuring law enforcement personnel can accept services without fear of repercussions. Even though mental health initiatives can be costly on the front end, their intervention and the results, can greatly increase a law enforcement officer’s ability to serve their community and have a more positive outlook on life in general.



Police--Mental Health, Police Psychology, Police Job Stress