June is recognized as PTSD Awareness Month, a time dedicated to increasing public awareness about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), reducing the associated stigma, and ensuring those affected receive the necessary treatment.
During this month it is crucial to address its impact on law enforcement officers. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that approximately 30 percent of first responders, including police officers, develop behavioral health conditions such as depression and PTSD.
Law enforcement officers often face higher rates of depression, burnout, anxiety, and PTSD than the general population.
The impact of poor mental health on job productivity is universal, regardless of the industry. However, considering the critical nature of police officers’ responsibilities in ensuring public safety, it becomes even more imperative to ensure they receive proper mental health care.
Struggles with mental health can impair officers’ decision-making abilities, jeopardize their own well-being, and even compromise public safety.
Despite the pressing need for mental health care, the stigmatization surrounding mental health issues often discourages law enforcement officers from seeking help.
“In law enforcement, it’s hard to show that pain that you’re going through. It’s hard to show it for your partner. You don’t want him to or her to question your ability to rise through an occasion. You don’t want your, your superiors to see you that way. And you certainly don’t want to be seen going in and out of a mental health clinic,” says Al Eskanazy, Chairman and C.E.O. of Community Police Relations Foundation.
It is estimated that less than 20 percent of police officers with confirmed mental health issues actually seek assistance. Breaking down stigmas and encouraging officers to prioritize their mental well-being is crucial.
By actively promoting mental health awareness, it ensures that those serving our communities receive the support they need to maintain their well-being while safeguarding ours.