Law and order. Good and bad. As a society, we rely on police officers to keep us safe and put the bad guys away. Police officers make the decision to put others before themselves daily, and for that reason, they are the true heroes. Our communities wouldn’t be able to function the way they do without them. That’s a lot of pressure, right?
Although we view cops as superheroes, they’re unfortunately human, just like us. They’re susceptible to suffering from anxiety, PTSI, and depression, just as much as the next person. It’s important to know cops can suffer from mental illness and there’s help out there for them.
WHY DO COPS SUFFER FROM MENTAL ILLNESS?
Aside from being human, cops can suffer from mental illness because they’re exposed to high pressure and traumatic situations. They deal with criminals, domestic assaults, homicide, drug-related incidences, serious motor vehicle accidents, and more. They also sometimes have to make life or death decisions that can weigh on them. Almost 1 in 4 cops have had suicidal thoughts at one point. At First Responders First, we care about protecting the mental health of our law enforcement officials and would like to share five tips on how to cope with mental illness.
1. TALK IT OUT
Cops shouldn’t be afraid to share what they are going through with others. The stress and trauma they deal with daily is very real. A great way to decompress is confiding in a friend, family member, or colleague. Never underestimate the power of saying your feelings out loud. Although the people in your life may not be trained mental health professionals, it’s important to get things off your chest. More likely than not, your loved ones will be happy to lend an ear.
2. ASK FOR HELP
If you feel like you need professional guidance, ask someone for help. You never know what someone has been through in the past and they may be able to recommend treatment they found to be useful. It also may be helpful to ask a colleague if they’ve sought treatment in the past since you experience similar situations to them.
3. DO RESEARCH
Mental health is just as serious as your physical health. Once you get some recommendations on mental health treatment, do some research to see what may be best for you. There are a lot of treatment options out there available to help with different things. Although someone found a course of treatment to be beneficial for them, it doesn’t mean it will work for you.
4. GET THE HELP
After you’ve done your research and figured out a good course of treatment to help you with your mental illness, you should pursue the help! Sometimes it can feel easy looking for treatment or therapy, but hard to actually go through with it.
Battling mental illness can take weeks, months, or even be a lifelong journey. It’s important to seek out the help of a trained professional.
5. SHARE YOUR STORY
Once you feel like your mental illness is under control you can share your story with others. One feeling people often suffer from while battling mental illness is feeling alone. If you share your story with others you’re helping anyone who is struggling know that they’re not alone. Mental illness isn’t this rare, scary disease, that only affects a few people. Mental illness is common and affects a lot of people. By sharing your story you can help others get to a place where they’re happy, just like you are after getting the help you deserve.
WE’RE HERE TO HELP
First Responders First is a treatment program for first responders. We help those struggling with substance abuse and other related issues. Give us a call to see if we can help you out and discuss your options. We’re proud to serve you and are waiting for your call.