Breaking the Stigma Surrounding Police Mental Health | Local News
Schlosser, the chief psychologist for the NJ Association of Chiefs of Police, said it’s the combination of traumatic events and the daily stress of the job that really starts to add up.
“A lot of people are still worried about ‘big issues’, like a shooting involving an officer, which is very serious, of course,” he said, “but I would say more frequently, that’s the kind of cumulative trauma from repeated exposure to stressful events with negative outcomes. “
He added that 2020 was particularly difficult for officers due to constant anxiety over the COVID-19 pandemic and nationwide protests following numerous high-profile deaths involving police.
“Putting on a blue uniform doesn’t make you Superman,” Schlosser said. “You are still human in the blue uniform. You still have weaknesses and you have family that you care about and worry about. There is almost just a layer of stress that everyone has, both citizens and law enforcement. And then you have (Derek) Chauvin’s situation, the anti-police sentiment, the riots, the civil unrest and the incredible divide in our country.
Through resources such as the Resilience Program, Schlosser says, improving mental health in law enforcement can also improve community relationships.
“The idea is to have healthier agents,” he said, “and the goal is that if your agent is healthier he will be better at work and better at work. But, of course, if they are healthier and better at work, I would expect we would see less use of force, fewer behavior complaints, less sick leave abuse, and better results because the agents will be happier. and healthier.