Mental and physical well-being at the center of Rochester Police Dept.

there’s a new effort at the Rochester Police Department to address an often overlooked aspect of police work it’s launching a wellness program next year to give officers the tools to deal with job stress and traumatic calls cagey DC’s Linda ha joins us now live in the studio to talk about the trauma police are being exposed to and how it’s impacting the interactions that they have Linda yeah Kailyn every officer that I’ve spoken with say they got into this work because they want to make a lasting impact but there’s growing concern that responding to these calls back-to-back without mental health support can take a toll on their well-being research finds that police officers have high rates of suicide in a shorter life expectancy so Kaitlin this wellness program represents a long-neglected need we’re supposed to be the super-strong entity that can handle anything but when you see people at their worst day and you see families torn apart you do bring a little bit of that home with you traditionally officers hit their feelings after responding to a traumatic scene they’re expected to brush it off and keep going that was such a stigma that your police officers don’t ask for help we don’t have mental breakdowns we don’t have mental illness in our profession over time the routine stresses of the job takes a toll on the officers well-being there have been specific calls that will never leave my memory a car accident where three people were burned to death and me and some of my partners basically watched them burn because we couldn’t get close enough to the vehicle so it’s always those calls where you couldn’t save the person each year suicide claims more officers lives and the violence in the line of duty highlighting the problem of untreated mental health issues they have the sense though sometimes a sense of futility about no matter what I do bad things continue to happen and that can be very difficult for officers over time that lack of being able to make a more permanent impact dr. Steven Norton is a psychologist who specializes in law enforcement probably two major type of stress that officers deal with and one is the very critical incident where something really major happens on the job the other type of stress is stress that kind of curves over time he says acceptance is a major culture shift in the profession and that there’s broader public interest in making sure that officers mental health that’s taken care of having a negative reaction to bad things is normal it’s really not a sign of weakness the Rochester Police Department is encouraging its officers to seek help broken cops provide broken service in your community the wellness program focuses on mental health support and physical training it’s going to be mandatory you go talk to somebody once a year so we can see where you’re at built up trauma can make it challenging for both law enforcement and the community they serve and they’re hoping to change that we realize that by keeping them healthy that the community will be better served and right now the Rochester Police Department along with many other agencies offer employee assistance programs and that helps but they’re still skepticism that what officers say will get back to their peers or supervisors or that they’ll be ruled unfit for duty live in the studio Lynda ha KT TC news Thank You Lynda

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