Law Enforcement and Mental Health
Posted: October 7, 2022
Can Mental Health & Policing exist together?
Back in 2017 I was a School Resource Officer. I was at the high school talking to a parent when she told me she was a social worker/therapist. I then explained how I had been accepted into a Clinical Mental Health Counseling program.
One day I’m in my clinical site’s office listening to clients share their experiences & traumas with police in their own life. The next day, I’m taking away someone’s freedom by affecting a lawful arrest.
I can’t explain how my lenses blur together at times. In the therapy room, my mind wonders: accountability, law & order. In my patrol uniform, my mind shouts: depressive criterion, mood, affect, etc.
Add in that I’m a black cop/therapist in THIS climate, oh man if you could feel how I feel lol. Guess to answer my own question. Yes, & they already have.
I found that officers are no different than my clients. They all have the same problems, same emotions, same life experiences. The stigma of mental health, the hiding, the projection, the burnout, all the same.
I’ve also found out, while the titles are different, our job still is helping people either way. That can come in a form of a treatment plan or locating someone’s stolen property. They both have value and merit. Combining the two worlds has been quite the journey so far!