Employee Mental Health – Model Policy Guidance

This is the most comprehensive document that I have come across. If you are considering adopting a “much needed” policy that addresses employee mental health, this is a great resource. Thank you IACP!

www.iacpnet.com

Helping law enforcement leaders make informed, data-driven decisions through intuitive online resources, tools, and e-libraries

Document #: 650503

Title: Employee Mental Health Services
Author:
Attributed: IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center Location: USA

Population: 318000000 Sworn:
Last Updated: 04/11/2019

Supplemental Resource(s):

Concepts and Issues Paper (pdf) Policy DOCX (docx) www.theiacp.org/policycenter (web)

Summary:

Need to Know (pdf) Policy PDF (pdf)

This policy guidance document is from the IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center. This document concerns employee mental health and includes a Need to Know summary, a Model Policy, and a Concepts and Issues Paper.

Document Text:

International Association of Chiefs of Police IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center

Updated: April 2019

Need to Know . . .

Employee Mental Health Services

As part of a holistic approach to employee health and wellness, law enforcement agencies should establish policies, procedures, and associated services designed to promote mental health well-being.

* As part of the overarching organizational culture, agencies should stress that mental health is a key aspect of overall employee wellness, with the focus on mental health couched in positive, as opposed to punitive, terms.

* When developing mental health services, agencies should begin by identifying qualified mental health professionals (QMHPs). These individuals should have knowledge of trauma-related disorders and ideally have previous experience working with law enforcement and related public safety personnel.

* Agencies should provide access to an employee assistance program (EAP) that offers free counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees and their families.

* Families play a crucial role in an employee’s overall health and wellness and should be included in an agency’s mental health services program. This may include holding a family orientation for new employees, establishing “family days” for families of existing employees, and extending mental health services to cover family members.

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 1/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

* Employees should be notified in advance of the limits of confidentiality associated with each mental health service provided by the agency.

* Peer support programs can serve as an excellent source of support for employees, especially following a critical incident. Peer support team members are trained to provide one-on-one emotional, social, or practical support and referrals to additional professional services when needed.

* Employees should be encouraged to participate in periodic, voluntary mental health wellness consultations.

* Information regarding mental health wellness and the associated services offered by the agency should be provided to all employees on a regular basis. In addition, training on resiliency and mindfulness should be provided on an initial and ongoing basis.

* While voluntary mental health services should be provided in order to promote overall employee wellness, agencies should also develop policies and procedures regarding involuntary referral to mental health services, to include fitness- for-duty evaluations.

© Copyright 2019. Departments are encouraged to use this document to establish policies customized to their agency and jurisdiction. However, copyright is held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Alexandria, Virginia U.S.A. All rights reserved under both international and Pan-American copyright conventions. Further dissemination of this material is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holder.

*****

Model Policy Updated: April 2019

Employee Mental Health Services I. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to outline this law enforcement agency’s response to providing employees with mental health services.[1]

II. POLICY

It is the policy of this law enforcement agency to provide all personnel with access to mental health services to help them preempt and resolve emotional difficulties and to take those measures necessary in the provision of mental health services to ensure their well-being and safety.

III. DEFINITIONS

Chaplain: A member of the clergy who serves in a non denominational capacity to aid employees in their spiritual health, as well as other aspects of health and wellness.

Critical Incident: An incident that is unusual, violent, or involves a perceived threat to, or actual loss of, human life that may overwhelm an individual’s normal coping mechanisms and cause extreme psychological distress.[2]

Early Identification and Management System (EIMS): A system designed to assist supervisors and managers in identifying employees whose performance warrants review and, where appropriate, outline intervention procedures in circumstances where the employee’s behavior may have negative consequences for the employee, coworkers, the agency, and/or the general public.[3]

Employee Assistance Program (EAP): Confidential mental health services maintained by a third party.

Family Orientation: An opportunity for family members to tour agency facilities, including the communications center; meet the chief executives, chaplains and peer support team; and learn about available support services, including those related to mental health.

Mental Health Services: Services provided by an agency-employed and/or agency-contracted qualified mental health

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 2/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

professional.

Mental Health Wellness Consultation: An opportunity for employees to meet with a qualified mental health professional of their choice for a confidential mental health session.

Peer Support: A program designed to provide one-on-one emotional, social, or practical support and referrals to additional professional services, when needed. The program comprises sworn or civilian specifically trained colleagues, referred to as peer support persons, who are not counselors or therapists.

Qualified Mental Health Professional (QMHP): An individual who is licensed as a mental health professional and has an in-depth understanding of trauma-related disorders and the law enforcement culture.

IV. PROCEDURES
A. Family orientations should

1. be organized by the agency and provided to new employees and their families;
2. be conducted by the agency’s employees and a panel of law enforcement family members; and
3. include information regarding agency EAPs, insurance, peer support, and other supportive programs.

B. EAPs should be provided to all agency employees and their families.

C. Confidential mental health services shall be available to all employees of the agency and their families as allowed by insurance coverage or agency policy. Employees shall be provided a sufficient number of sessions with a QMHP.

D. Employees should participate in a periodic, confidential mental health wellness consultation with a QMHP. E. Mental health wellness consultations shall be offered to all employees affected by critical incidents.
F. Peer Support
1. The establishment of a peer support program should be considered.[4]

2. Peer support persons (PSPs) shall be trained to provide both day-to-day emotional support for agency employees, as well as participate in the agency’s comprehensive response to critical incidents.

a. PSPs should be selected from experienced personnel who have earned the respect and confidence of their fellow employees.
b. PSPs shall demonstrate listening and excellent interpersonal skills.
c. PSPs shall be removed from the program for violating the program’s confidentiality policy and/or engaging in other behavior that is considered detrimental to the program.

3. The peer support program shall be supervised by a senior agency employee and overseen by a QMHP familiar with peer support operations.

G. Chaplains should be identified for those employees who may prefer an alternative avenue for communication. Depending on the licensing or credentials of the chaplain, this contact may or may not replace contact with a QMHP.

H. An EIMS should be implemented to aid in the proactive identification of employee wellness concerns.

I. Ongoing in-service training and education shall be offered to agency employees to promote mental health well-being and overall wellness, to include training related to resiliency, mindfulness, and retirement planning.

Notes

1 Note that this document focuses primarily on voluntary referral to mental health services. However, in some instances, involuntary referrals may be necessary, to include fitness-for-duty evaluations. For more information on this process, please see the IACP Psychological Services Section’s Fitness-for-Duty Evaluation Guidelines at https://www.thei- acp.org/sites/default/files/all/p-r/Psych-FitnessforDutyEvaluation.pdf.

2 See the IACP Policy Center documents on Critical Incident Stress Management available at

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 3/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

https://www.theiacp.org/resources/policy-center-resource/critical-incident-stress-management.

3 This may also be referred to as an early warning system. See the IACP Policy Center documents on Early Warning System available at https://www.theiacp.org/resources/policy-center-resource/early-warning-system.

4 See the IACP Police Psychological Services Section’s Peer Support Guidelines at https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2018-09/Psych-PeerSupportGuidelines.pdf.

Every effort has been made to ensure that this document incorporates the most current information and contemporary professional judgment on this issue. Readers outside of the United States should note that, while this document promotes procedures reflective of a democratic society, its legal basis follows United States Supreme Court rulings and other federal laws and statutes.

Law enforcement administrators should be cautioned that each law enforcement agency operates in a unique environment of court rulings, state laws, local ordinances, regulations, judicial and administrative decisions and collective bargaining agreements that must be considered, and should therefore consult its legal advisor before implementing any policy.

This document is not intended to be a national standard.

© Copyright 2019. Departments are encouraged to use this policy to establish one customized to their agency and jurisdiction. However, copyright is held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Alexandria, Virginia U.S.A. All rights reserved under both international and Pan-American copyright conventions. Further dissemination of this material is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holder.

*****

Concepts & Issues Paper Updated: April 2019

Employee Mental Health Services I. INTRODUCTION
A. PURPOSE OF DOCUMENT

This paper is designed to accompany the Model Policy on Employee Mental Health Services published by the IACP Law Enforcement Policy Center. This paper provides essential background material and supporting documentation to provide a greater understanding of the developmental philosophy and implementation requirements for the model policy. This material will be of value to law enforcement executives in their efforts to tailor the model to the requirements and circumstances of their communities and their law enforcement agencies.

B. BACKGROUND

Personnel are the most valuable assets in a law enforcement agency. The effective performance of employees is essential to the success of an agency’s mission to serve and protect the public. The investment in personnel does not stop with the selection and training phase but continues over the course of each employee’s career. Mental health services that support and sustain the employee are beneficial to the community served, the agency, the employee’s family, and the individual employee. However, the realities of the stressful nature of police work are apparent when the following is considered: according to one source, in 2018, there were 159 known law enforcement suicides in the United States,[1] making suicide more common than all line-of-duty deaths combined (150).[2]

Types of Stress. When an individual is exposed to a stressful or traumatic event, the body unconsciously reacts by automatically mobilizing to maximize the ability to meet a clear and present danger. The outcome of this response has clear life-or-death implications, which creates a powerful imperative and driving force. These events result in an increased likelihood of producing strong physical and psychological reactions, sometimes referred to as primary stress. Primary stress may produce negative emotional, physical, and/or social problems.

In addition, secondary stress, also referred to as vicarious trauma or compassion fatigue, may exist. Secondary stress is not the result of direct exposure to a critical incident, develops gradually, and may be difficult to identify. Symptoms are related to the intensity and frequency of exposure to traumatic experiences and are similar to posttraumatic stress.

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 4/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

Psychological interventions that mitigate the negative consequences from primary and secondary stress have been the subject of rigorous research. There are advances in the application of psychological, pharmacological, and social treatments of traumatic stress and associated mood and behavioral disorders.[3]

A third area that agencies should be aware of is the general stress inherent in everyday life. This may include, but is not limited to, the death of a loved one, chronic illness, substance abuse, and/or marital discord. Employee mental health services should be developed that address all three of these types of stress.

Mental Health Stigma. Agencies must also address the stigma that may be associated with utilizing mental health services. Employees may avoid taking advantage of mental health services for fear that they will be looked down upon by others or viewed as weak, or even “crazy.” As part of the overarching organizational culture, agencies should stress that mental health is a key aspect of overall employee wellness, with the focus on mental health couched in positive, as opposed to punitive, terms. Agency executives should exhibit unconditional support for the use of mental health services.

While suicide prevention has been a primary focus for law enforcement agencies for a number of years, the goal of this document is to discuss additional items identified as important mental health services.[4] These include

* the role of mental health services, such as an employee assistance program (EAP), in-house behavioral health programs, and consultant-based programs;

* the role of peer support programs, to include the limits of confidentiality offered by these programs and the competence standards to provide services; and

* engaging the families of employees in a manner that recognizes their potentially diverse compositions. C. DEVELOPING AN EMPLOYEE MENTAL HEALTH PROGRAM

Resources available to a law enforcement agency may have a direct impact on the type of mental health services that are available. Small agencies with limited budgets are encouraged to work with their jurisdictions to determine if there are any programs already available through the locality, such as state, provincial, territory, city, or county resources. This may also include exploring cost-sharing programs with neighboring jurisdictions. In addition, agencies may wish to explore no- or low-cost relationships with community organizations.

However, agencies should recognize the value of investing in these programs. This value extends beyond the immediate response to acute mental health concerns; it also affects the community, as consumers of law enforcement services, and extended families of law enforcement employees.

D. CONFIDENTIALITY

Concerns about confidentiality are typically one of the greatest barriers to accessing mental health resources expressed by law enforcement personnel. A common question asked may be “Will my agency know if I go to counseling?” The answer to this question may influence whether employees utilize the mental health services being offered by the agency. Even the perception that counseling sessions lack total confidentiality can undermine a mental health services program.

Mental health services provided by a qualified mental health professional (QMHP) should be confidential if the session is voluntary and the employee is self-referred, even if the agency is covering the cost. However, normal exceptions to confidentiality will apply. These may include, but are not limited to, expression of intent to harm self or others, child abuse, or involvement with criminal activity. The agency should normally not be notified that the employee voluntarily sought out mental health treatment.

There may be some situations where confidentiality is not complete, and the agency may be informed of information divulged by the employee during the meeting with the QMHP. Examples of this include a mandatory fitness-for-duty evaluation. In addition, if the QMHP and/or peer support personnel is employed by agency, they may be required to report any serious misconduct.

Confidentiality is generally extended to interactions with peer support personnel and chaplains as well. Agencies should consult with the QMHP associated with the peer support program to confirm confidentiality requirements. In all situations, mental health service providers, whether QMHPs, peer support personnel, or chaplains should advise the employee of any limits to confidentiality prior to beginning any interactions.

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 5/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

II. MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
A. QUALIFIED MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS (QMHPS)

Law enforcement agencies are encouraged to identify professional mental health support services. Since only a few agencies have the capacity to operate an in-house psychological services program, most agencies identify one or more community-based QMHPs as resources. These QMHPs may operate on a contractual basis or a more informal relationship may be established. Regardless of how access to services is structured, the key elements of the relationship are the QMHPs’ commitment to confidentiality, their cost, their knowledge of trauma-related disorders, and their cultural competence to work with law enforcement and related public safety personnel.

QMHPs used by a law enforcement agency or available through an EAP should meet established standards. The following standards should be considered when selecting a QMHP:

* direct clinical experience
* experience providing EAP counseling
* independent license at the highest level of practice in their area of residence * license in good standing, with no sanctions
* malpractice insurance

B. EMPLOYEE ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS (EAPs)

An EAP is an employee benefit program, typically administered by an agency or jurisdiction’s human resources function, that assists employees with personal and/or work-related problems that may impact their job performance, health, and mental and emotional well-being.[5] EAPs generally provide free counseling, referrals, and follow-up services for employees and their families. The EAP may serve an important role when supervisory referrals are the impetus for an employee seeking treatment and may also encourage the employee to refer themselves for counseling. Research indicates that EAPs are associated with direct cost savings from reduced medical, disability, and workers’ compensation claims, as well as reduced costs related to poor worker performance.[6] However, there are limitations to EAP programs, including concerns about confidentiality and the cultural competence of EAP counselors. In addition, EAP services are typically restricted to a few meetings.

EAPs may be the law enforcement agency’s primary resource for mental health training and crisis response services. Therefore, a law enforcement agency is an important stakeholder in the selection of an EAP provider. For smaller agencies, collaborating with larger agencies can be beneficial. These larger agencies may be able to extend their EAP services to smaller agencies.

All agencies should be familiar with the specific resources that are available from their EAP, to include the number of sessions available, who is covered (e.g., the employee’s spouse, children), qualifications for use of services, and any associated costs. Agencies may wish to develop printed or digital resources to distribute to employees or to post in common areas providing information regarding the EAP and the resources it provides.

C. PEER SUPPORT PROGRAMS

Peer support occurs when a coworker provides knowledge, experience, emotional, social, or practical help to another employee. This concept has evolved over the past 20 years in law enforcement and now primarily consists of specially trained employees who are available to provide one-on-one support and make referrals to additional professional services when needed. However, peer support services are not intended to replace counseling by a QMHP.[7]

Peer support persons (PSPs) should be trained to provide both day-to-day emotional support for agency employees, as well as participate in the agency’s comprehensive response to critical incidents.[8] PSPs should be selected from experienced personnel who have earned the respect and confidence of their fellow employees and should demonstrate excellent listening and excellent interpersonal skills.

The peer support program should establish strict guidelines regarding confidentiality and procedures for PSPs to follow. The program should be supervised by a senior agency officer and overseen by a QMHP familiar with peer support operations who specializes in working with law enforcement. In the event a PSP violates these guidelines or procedures and/or engages in other behavior that is considered detrimental to the program, that PSP should be removed immediately from the program.

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 6/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

Statutes governing peer-support programs may vary across jurisdictions. Therefore, agencies should familiarize themselves with the relevant case law pertaining to protections afforded PSPs, consult with their legal advisor when considering peer support teams, and be fully advised of the limits to confidentiality of peer support work for their specific jurisdictions.[9]

D. CHAPLAINS

Chaplains, whether paid or volunteer, are intended to provide support to employees and their families. Chaplains should serve in a non-denominational capacity, regardless of their individual faith.

Most volunteer chaplains receive outside training by virtue of their position. However, many chaplains do not have experience working with law enforcement. Many agencies elect to introduce chaplains to the field of law enforcement by having the chaplain observe various agency functions, such as the communications center, agency substation, or academy. Policies and procedures should state whether a chaplain will work alongside officers at all times, or only for specific occasions, and whether they will participate in special events, such as award ceremonies, memorials, or funerals. As applicable, each chaplain should receive specific instructions regarding use of agency equipment, such as radios, as well as any documentation requirements. Chaplains should wear attire or a symbol of faith that clearly identifies them as a member of the religious community.

Candidates for chaplain should meet identified requirements, such as the ability to pass a criminal history and background check conducted by the agency. In addition, chaplains should be available on a 24-hour, on-call basis, as determined by the agency.[10]

III. PROCEDURES
A. FAMILY ORIENTATIONS

An employee’s family plays a crucial role in the overall mental health wellness of a law enforcement employee. In addition, family members may be exposed to stressors from the employee’s role in the agency. Therefore, it is important that family members are provided with information regarding the agency’s available mental health services in both an initial and ongoing basis. This may consist of a family orientation event at the beginning of the employee’s career. During this orientation, family members should be provided with an opportunity to meet with the chief executive and be provided with information related to mental health services, to include EAP programs, insurance, peer support, and other available programs. Family members should be encouraged to remain active participants in the employee mental health process and should be provided with updated or refresher information on a regular basis.

Agencies may also wish to hold regular “family days.” These loosely structured events provide a chance for family members to learn more about the employee’s job assignment through shadowing opportunities; be exposed to other agency functions, such as the canine unit; and to meet agency EAP providers, QMHPs, peer support personnel, and chaplains.

B. CONFIDENTIAL MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

Confidential mental health services should be available to all employees of the agency and their families as allowed by insurance coverage or agency policy.

Employees who identify a need for professional mental health treatment should be provided a sufficient number of sessions with a QMHP. Confidential mental health services should be used any time an employee, for personal or family reasons, assesses the need for mental health services.

C. MENTAL HEALTH WELLNESS CONSULTATIONS

Employees should be encouraged to participate in a periodic, confidential mental health wellness consultation with a QMHP, especially when involved with a critical incident. These consultations can take various forms and can be a valuable resource to agencies attempting to provide assistance to employees who are affected by either professional or personal issues. Agencies can promote proactive, as opposed to reactive, response to mental health wellness by encouraging regular mental health consultations. Agencies should consult with their QMHP regarding the frequency of these consultations. Additional consideration should be given to individuals in specialized assignments that may expose them to additional stressors, such as child abuse or exploitation units.

Unlike confidential mental health services, these consultations are not ongoing treatment, but instead may help an

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 7/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

employee determine whether they would benefit from engaging in some form of mental health treatment to assist them in dealing with personal or professional issues. Consultation with a QMHP provides the employee with the opportunity to determine which services would be appropriate.

Mental health wellness consultations following critical incidents have been effectively utilized by law enforcement agencies for decades. These consultations should be totally confidential with the QMHP reporting back to the agency only that the employee attended the consultation.

It is suggested that agencies form a relationship with a QMHP to provide this service for their employees, and that the agency be responsible for the cost of the consultations.

D. CRITICAL INCIDENT STRESS INTERVENTIONS

Critical incidents are defined as incidents that are unusual, violent, or involve a perceived threat to, or actual loss of, human life that may overwhelm an individual’s normal coping mechanisms and may cause extreme psychological distress. It is particularly important that agencies provide mental health resources, to include a critical incident stress management (CISM) program, during any period where it is reasonable to believe that an employee may experience physical, cognitive, emotional, and/or behavioral reactions to a critical incident. The CISM program should be utilized to provide employees with information on reactions to the trauma associated with critical incidents and assist in the deterrence of negative responses.[11]

E. EARLY IDENTIFICATION AND MANAGEMENT

Early identification and management systems (EIMS), sometimes referred to as early warning systems, are data-based systems designed to assist supervisors and managers in identifying employees whose performance warrants review and, where appropriate, outline intervention procedures in circumstances where the employee’s behavior may have negative consequences for the employee, coworkers, the agency, and/or the general public. The goal is to provide an agency with a mechanism to identify areas of concern and intervene before the situation warrants formal disciplinary action. The overall focus of an EIMS should be the promotion of employee wellness. Therefore, the EIMS should be structured in a way that encourages positive intervention, as opposed to concentrating solely on punitive measures. An EIMS may allow for a reduction of liability for the agency, as well as an opportunity for the employee to proactively address life stressors before they worsen.

F. RETIREMENT PLANNING

While significant focus is often placed on teaching recruits and new employees about the importance of mental health wellness and informing them of available resources, those nearing the end of their careers can be overlooked. Retirement can be a particularly stressful period in an individual’s life, especially if they have devoted their entire career to law enforcement. In many cases, the individual’s identity and sense of self may be directly tied to the job he or she performed. When this employment ceases to exist, the individual may experience negative reactions, to include those related to his or her mental health and well-being.

Agencies should be aware of this and incorporate retirement planning as a part of their training and provide corresponding mental health services. This may include financial planning, as well as identifying other interests where the individual can devote their time and energy after retirement.

G. REFERRALS FOR MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES

First-line supervisors are in a unique position to be able to identify and respond to mental health concerns in employees. Supervisors should be trained to recognize indicators of potential mental health issues. Ideally, supervisors should encourage employees to seek confidential mental health services voluntarily when they are exhibiting problematic behavior. However, in some instances, involuntary referrals may be required. In these situations, mandatory fitness-for- duty evaluations may be necessary.[12]

Coworkers may witness behaviors that are not apparent to supervisors. Once again, in these cases, encouraging the employee to access voluntary mental health services resources is ideal. However, employees should be provided with guidance regarding when they should report potential misconduct to a supervisor.

H. TRAINING
Ongoing in-service training and education should be offered to employees to promote overall wellness. Training about

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 8/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

mental health well-being can be viewed as an opportunity for primary prevention. Mental rehearsal and skills-based training may prevent problems from emerging.

This training should be developed in partnership with QMHPs, PSPs, and chaplains to ensure a multidisciplinary, holistic approach. In addition, agencies should consider having these individuals present the training. This provides an opportunity for agency employees to become familiar with these individuals and may help foster a level of trust.

As part of both a proactive and reactive response to employee mental health wellness, agencies should consider resiliency training.[13] Resiliency relates to an individual’s ability to cope with or adapt to adverse life events, such as trauma or significant sources of stress. Resiliency includes a person’s ability to effectively bounce back from negative life events and return to normal functioning. Resiliency is made up of numerous factors, including, but not limited to, promoting thinking styles that encourage optimism over cynicism; conducting self-talk that focuses on what is controllable; recognizing and avoiding traps of negative thinking, such as a tendency to catastrophize; avoiding counterproductive thinking; and strengthening the ability to plan, develop, and commit to goals aimed at reducing and/or coping with stress. By providing resiliency training on a regular basis, agencies can encourage the development of the coping skills necessary to respond to stressful or traumatic events in a healthy, adaptive manner.

Resiliency is not something that a person either does or does not have; rather, resiliency exists along a spectrum and can be developed through training. For both proactive, as well as reactive purposes, resiliency training can help to foster adaptive coping mechanisms that help individuals bounce back from negative life events. Agencies can take a proactive approach to resiliency by including training to recruits during academy training or existing employees during routine retraining. Resiliency training can also be reactive, delivered to employees following critical incidents or in the face of extraordinary life stressors, such as the death of a loved one or marital discord. Agencies are encouraged to explore available resiliency training opportunities to foster adaptive coping skills in their officers.

In addition to training related resiliency, agencies should also encourage the development of mindfulness practices designed to help employees live fully in the present moment, while countering the tendencies to relive past events or to worry about potential events.[14]

IV. CONCLUSION

In order to develop a more comprehensive approach to overall employee wellness, it is important for agencies to establish policies, procedures, and services designed to address and promote positive mental health and well-being. QMHPs, EAPs, peer-support programs, and chaplains are all useful tools for agencies to provide their employees in order to create a wellness-focused environment. Agencies should also encourage employees to actively participate in mental health wellness consultations and training on resiliency and mindfulness. Mental health resources and services that support and sustain personnel are beneficial to the community served, the agency, the employee’s family and the individual employee.

Notes

1 Blue H.E.L.P., “159 American Police Officers Died By Suicide in 2018,” December 31, 2018, https://bluehelp.org/158-american-police-officers-died-by-suicide-in-2018

2 Officer Down Memorial Page, “Honoring Officers Killed in 2018,” https://www.odmp.org/search/year/2018.

3 For more information about Evidence Based Treatments (EBT) see National Institutes of Health, “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” https://nccih. nih.gov/health/PTSD and U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, VA/DoD Clinical Practice Guidelines, 2018, https://www.healthquality.va.gov/guide-lines/MH/ptsd/

4 For more information on suicide prevention, please visit IACP’s “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention and Awareness” resources webpage, http://www.theiacp.org/Preventing-law-Enforcement-officer-suicide.

5 Mark Attridge, The Value of Employee Assistance Programs (Norfolk, VA: EASNA, 2015), https://easna.org/wp- content/uploads/2016/02/Value-of-EAP-2015.pdf .

6 Rick Selvik et al., “EAP Impact on Work, Relationship, and Health Outcomes,” Journal of Employee Assistance (2nd Quarter, 2004): 18-22, https://foh.psc.gov/whatwedo/EAP/outcomepaper.pdf

7 For more information, see the IACP’s Psychological Services Section’s Peer Support Guidelines available at https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/2018-09/Psych-PeerSupportGuidelines.pdf.

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 9/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

8 See the IACP Policy Center Documents on Critical Incident Stress Management available at https://www.theiacp.org/resources/policy-center-resource/critical-incident-stress-management

9 For example, Virginia Code § 19.2-271.4., under “Privileged communications by certain public safety personnel,” indicates that with specified limitations to confidentiality, peer support team members “shall not disclose nor be compelled to testify regarding any information communicated to him by emergency medical services or public safety personnel who are the subjects of peer support services regarding a critical incident.” In Colorado, Revised Statute 13- 90-107 states that a “law enforcement or firefighter peer support team member shall not be examined without the consent of the person to whom peer support services have been provided…” In 2017, Colorado voted to expand privilege to group peer support. Hawaii’s Title 7, §78-52, under “Public Service. Peer Support Counseling Sessions” indicates that communications in law enforcement peer support sessions are “privileged and may not be disclosed by any person participating in the peer support counseling session.” Some states offer no such statutory safeguards.

10 For additional potential chaplain requirements, see Law Enforcement Chaplain Qualifications and Qualities from the International Conference on Police Chaplains at http://www.icpc4cops.org/chaplaincy-intro/chaplain- qualifications.html.

11 For more information on CISM programs, please see the IACP Policy Center documents on Critical Incident Stress Management available at https://www.theiacp.org/resources/policy-center-resource/critical-incident-stress-management.

12 For detailed information regarding fitness-for-duty evaluations, please see the IACP Psychological Services Section’s guidelines at https://www.theiacp.org/sites/default/files/all/p-r/Psych-FitnessforDutyEvaluation.pdf.

13 For more information, see the Shield of Resilience Training Course available from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration at https://www.samhsa.gov/dtac/shield- of-resilience-training-course and The Road to Resilience from the American Psychological Association available at https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/road-resilience.aspx.

14 See Richard Goerling, “The Role of Mindfulness Training in Policing a Democratic Society,” Officer Safety Corner, The Police Chief (April 2014): 10-11; and Steve Gladis, Ph.D., “The Mindful Cop,” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin, July 13, 2017.

Every effort has been made to ensure that this document incorporates the most current information and contemporary professional judgment on this issue. Readers outside of the United States should note that, while this document promotes procedures reflective of a democratic society, its legal basis follows United States Supreme Court rulings and other federal laws and statutes.

Law enforcement administrators should be cautioned that each law enforcement agency operates in a unique environment of court rulings, state laws, local ordinances, regulations, judicial and administrative decisions and collective bargaining agreements that must be considered, and should therefore consult its legal advisor before implementing any policy.

© Copyright 2019. Departments are encouraged to use this document to establish policies customized to their agency and jurisdiction. However, copyright is held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Alexandria, Virginia U.S.A. All rights reserved under both international and Pan-American copyright conventions. Further dissemination of this material is prohibited without prior written consent of the copyright holder.

Contact Information:

International Association of Chiefs of Police 44 Canal Center Plaza
Suite 200
Alexandria, VA 22314-2357

Phone: (703) 836-6767 Fax: (703) 836-4543

www.iacpnet.com

E-mail: iacpnet@theiacp.org

Hotline: 800.227.9640

©2019 IACP

www.iacpnet.com/iacpnet/members/databases/core/doc_print.asp?page=437124801&g=150503&cmd=ViewGroup 10/11

6/24/2019 IACP Net – e-Libraries: Document Display

%d bloggers like this:
Skip to toolbar