Being a police officer is a noble, courageous job and one that comes with daily stress and sacrifice. As officers are increasingly confronted with high-pressure situations during critical incidents, they must also deal with increasing amounts of stress away from the job.
When stress is left unaddressed, it can lead to depression and even suicide. Thankfully, police officers have access to many resources designed to reduce stress and improve their quality of life.
The following are four things that law enforcement leaders should know about officer stress and how to cope properly.
- Identify Trauma
As a law enforcement leader, you should be aware that your officers are more likely to suffer from higher levels of stress by the mere nature of their work.
You can take steps to reduce that stress level and encourage healing after trauma through education about available resources. Learn how critical incident stress may manifest itself in individuals and lead to burnout.
- Know the Warning Signs of Suicide
It is essential to understand the warning signs of suicide, especially for police officers. Warning signs may include:
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Depression, anxiety, or mood swings
- Drug and/or alcohol problems
- Verbal statements about suicide
- Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness
- Utilize Preventive Maintenance for Health and Wellness
One of the best ways to treat police officer stress is with a proactive, preventative maintenance plan. These programs are designed to help officers identify mental health issues before they become debilitating and provide them with a safe forum for discussing personal challenges.
- Find Ways to Deal with Everyday Stressors
There are many causes of stress outside the workplace, such as financial challenges and relationship problems with family or friends. Help your officers identify these issues and provide them with resources to improve their quality of life.
Take the Steps Today to Prevent Officer Stress and Burnout
As a law enforcement leader, it is important to help your officers deal with the stress they encounter every day. By implementing preventative maintenance measures and providing resources for healing, you ensure that officer burnout does not happen on your watch.