Expert gives police mental health tips to avoid unlawful acts

Sioux Falls Police: ongoing mental health check-ups currently not mandatory
Police officer stress and mental health
Published: Feb. 18, 2022 at 11:29 AM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - Mental health experts recommend employees exposed to stressful work-related experiences find healthy ways to process their emotions.

One can only imagine the images of crime scenes, standoffs, crashes, and violence that a police officer has to face, “and then how do they go home and cope with the stress that they’ve seen that day,” said Licensed Professional Counselor Holly Merrick-Liston with Yellow Brick Road Counseling.

Merrick-Liston says Law enforcement and firefighters have “a different trauma that they experienced almost on a daily basis most likely, you know.”

Without processing those experiences, and finding healthy outlets to relieve the stress, there could be trouble ahead. “Maybe, you know, go to alcohol or porn or gambling or whatever. Just to kind of take the focus off. It seems like it could kind of sneak up on you like I’ll just do it one time,” said Merrick-Liston.

Merrick-Liston says there’s a way to reframe negative experiences being replayed in one’s mind, “You’re gonna always have that memory of it. But now you can feel better emotionally about that experience.”

Sioux Falls Police Officers not required to seek mental health checkups

Having a solid support system, knowing who is there for you, can make a difference before things get worse.

The Fraternal order of police reveals there are resources for officers. The city’s employee assistance program offers individual therapy sessions. A peer support team meets regularly and can suggest further follow-up if needed.

Although there is also a mental health screening before being hired. Once an officer is on the job, there is no mandatory mental health check-up. Should a concerning circumstance develop, therapy may be suggested to an officer.

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