A 21st century approach to
identifying cumulative stress and trauma by allowing chiefs to do what they do
best—lead by training and example.
Everyone has the responsibility to make sure they are fit for the
difficult job of being a peace officer, but acceptance and permission from the
chief relieves the officer of any doubts they may have about obtaining mental
health support when needed.
In psychology we have a concept called,
“The Good Enough Parent.”
It means that perfection in the parent is not
required to raise a healthy child. By
the same token, Chiefs can and do have all the faults and problems that
everyone has, and can still lead effectively.
You only have to be“The Good
Challenge the concept that the “police
family” is more important than your “real family.” The stigma against pursuing
a balanced life has to be confronted and changed. Seeking good physical, social
and mental health has to be directed from thetop. That’s the only way
it works. Think of the
cost savings of an emotionally healthy squad: less sick leave, less substance
abuse, fewer overall complaints, less disciplinary problems, fewer lawsuits,
fewer divorces, less grievances, better morale, fewer resignations. There is no
down side to safety and wellness. The
benefits are ongoing and help develop a stronger and more cohesive police
must set a “New Standard”: This is a “call
out” to all chiefs to have a Mental Health Check (MHC) and inspire all their sergeants
and command staff to do the same. Then, the 1st line supervisors
meet individually with each officer, dispatcher and support staff member and
give them the encouragement and support to go for their Mental Health Check-ins
as well. It all makes natural sense.
Just try it.
“THE MENTAL HEALTH CHECK (MHC)”
It’s the safe
century way to build and maintain good mental health. It’s for you and
Visit a licensed mental health
professional to develop a relationship that can be relied on later.
A confidential visit
that does not trigger
a report. No information returns to your department.
It is not a Fitness for Duty
Evaluation. It is a check-in to learn
new skills and set goals if desired.
Health Check is part of your normal maintenance routine. Take it seriously.
It’s a chance to review your current
and/or past mental health status, and receive professional support.
The Mental Health Check
voluntary and encouraged by your Chief and all first line supervisors.
(Adapted from Badge of Life, 2006)
multiple options as to what kind of licensed mental health professional you
There are multiple options as to how the
sessions are paid for.
Every department can choose how they
carry out the MHC; it’s flexible.
For further information about the
“Chiefs Lead the Way” program or how to set up a program in your city or state
please contact: Marla Friedman Psy.D.PC, Chair-Police Psychological Services
Section/ ILACP atBooklight@att.net
Deep gratitude is extended to Badgeoflife.com
for their active encouragement, participation and
ongoing support for “Chiefs Lead the Way,” and a thank you to John Violantifor
By: Marla Friedman Psy.D. PC“ChiefsLeadtheWay”Copyright2013