Mental Health Stigma in Law Enforcement Final.docx - Running header MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA IN LAW ENFORCEMENT Mental Health Stigma in Law Enforcement

Mental Health Stigma in Law Enforcement Final.docx -...

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Running header: MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA IN LAW ENFORCEMENT1Mental Health Stigma in Law EnforcementKevin FornelosColumbia Southern University
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MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA2AbstractThis paper examines the dangers as well as the social stigma that law enforcementofficers face when attempting to seek treatment for mental health issues that they may have obtained from their career. Although officers face a constant social stigma from the public eye, officers should not be fearful of losing their job or being reprimanded by theirrespective department for seeking help. Many departments place officers on restricted duty when they do seek help. Departments that have taken steps to put forth guidelines and policies that would keep the officer’s best interest and health in mind, as well as adding additional training at police academies that enforce an officer’s health would further benefit them in the long run. Departments that put their best foot forward and support their officers would greatly reduce the amount of officer suicides moving forwardand provide a better and more stable work environment for officers.
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MENTAL HEALTH STIGMA3Mental Health Stigma in Law EnforcementThe constant struggle of being a strong individual on the outside and presenting a confident front toward the public, while physically, emotionally and mentally suffering on the inside has always been an on-going battle for first responders. Vigorous training onhow to manage violence, tactical situations, deescalating threats and being committed to going home at the end of the day benefits responders while working but rarely are the mental health, unhealthy environment and traumatic experiences spoken about and addressed. Over the past few years police and first responder suicides, as well as police officers being under scrutiny by their department when seeking help for mental health issues caused by their job has led to a dramatic increase in 2019. As a result, more officers have died by suicide than line of duty deaths, leading to 159 officers dying in 2019 (Alfonseca, 2019). The negative stigma that officers receive for seeking help with their issues from both the public eye and their respective departments has caused a great challenge over the past several years. On the contrary, many departments within the United States are becoming more aware of the fact that officers are facing these issues and several departments have taken the initiative on changing their policies allowing officer to seek help without fear. Additionally, departments are beginning to utilize training programs that instill addressing stressful situations and having a formalized suicide prevention program within each department, which would aide in lowering the suicide rate of law enforcement officers with the United States. Support systems like these give officers the confidence to bring forth their issues, without fear of losing their job and also show that leadership is beginning to take a stand and support those in need.
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