Chiefs Lead the Way

A Study of Police Suicide in 2008-2016
Girl's Letter to School
Police Suicide - What It ISN'T
Master Police Coaches - Building a Better Cop
PTSD - The "Hidden Injury"
Police Suicide - Making a Difference
The Importance of Therapy
Police Suicide - the SOLUTIONS
Interview with the BOL Chairman
So-Called "Helpers"
2016 Police Suicide Study
Annual Mental Health Checks
Stigma - The Human Stain
2016 Police Suicides: the NSOPS Study
Police Stress vs Trauma--a difference?
Does PTSD Cause Violence? from the Badge of Life
A New Police Suicide Prevention Program for the 21st Century
Police Suicide, Just a Bad Choice?
Chiefs Lead the Way
"Bring a Buddy"
Cumulative PTSD - a Silent Killer
Dealing with a Suicidal Police Officer

A Top-Down Approach to Addressing Police Trauma and Suicide

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 Enough Chief.”


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 force.


Chiefs 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.





  1. Visit a licensed mental health professional to develop a relationship that can be relied on later.

  2. A confidential visit that does not trigger a report. No information returns to your department.

  3. It is not a Fitness for Duty Evaluation.  It is a check-in to learn new skills and set goals if desired.

  4. The Mental Health Check is part of your normal maintenance routine.  Take it seriously.

  5. It’s a chance to review your current and/or past mental health status, and receive professional support.

  6. The Mental Health Check is fully voluntary and encouraged by your Chief and all first line supervisors.

It’s the safe and 21st century way to build and maintain good mental health.  It’s for you and your family.

                                        (Adapted from Badge of Life, 2006)


There are multiple options as to what kind of licensed mental health professional you choose.

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 or 630-510-3966



Deep gratitude is extended to for their active encouragement, participation and ongoing support for “Chiefs Lead the Way,” and a thank you to John Violantifor his excellent research.


By: Marla Friedman Psy.D. PC“ChiefsLeadtheWay”Copyright2013

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