Stress In The Police Department

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Stress can cause a myriad of behavioral and psychological disorders. Although occupational and traumatic stress affects behavior and the psyche, there are also biological, physical, and physiological effects and manifestations due to stress.
Biological, Physical, and Physiological Effects and Manifestations. Stress not only affects behavior and the mind, but also takes its toll on the body directly. As previously mentioned, law enforcement is a stressful vocation and it is associated with increased health concerns due to its link with occupational, traumatic, and work related stress and stressors (Habersaat, Geiger, Abdellaoui, & Wolf, 2015) (Ma, et al., 2015). Additionally, there is a link between PTSD, depression, and metabolic syndrome,
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Untreated psychological needs can lead to the development of illness in the body as previously mentioned. It is important for police agencies to have a program in place to address the psychological needs of police officers and other law enforcement personnel. Most municipalities and other forms of government employing law enforcement professionals have a Human Resources department that manages an Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employee Assistance Programs offer different resources to all employees, not just police officers, “designed to help employees cope with personal or family problems, including mental health, substance abuse, and marital or parenting issues, as well as financial or legal concerns” (Donnelly, Valentine, & Oehme, 2015, p. 206). However, social stigma of having a mental disorder and instability, or weakness may prevent an officer from seeking the help he or she needs (Davis, 2014). Some larger agencies employ fulltime psychologists to address the mental and psychological needs of police officers, and assist in critical incident debriefings. Some states, like California, employ innovative treatments such as Virtual Reality Therapy (VRT), and the Synthesized Trauma and Resilience Training (START) program to “build psychological resilience” (Davis, 2014, p. 10). For agencies that do not have the financial resources to employ a fulltime psychologist, there are other options. One option is to solicit the services of a…show more content…
The profession of law enforcement and police work is stressful where “officers face multiple threats to their safety and wellbeing” (Mumford, Taylor, & Kubu, 2015, p. 111). Some officers advance through their careers without drawing their gun or experiencing and physical or traumatic stress. However, all police officers experience occupational and work-related stress with minimal physical or traumatic stress. This leads to consider that “even in this healthy population, occupational stress played a significant role in the development of MetS and its components” (Garbarino & Magnavita, 2015, p. 10) reinforcing the association between stress and illness, and sustaining the need for mental health and psychological intervention for officers in crisis, regardless of how inconsequential the crisis may appear. A police officer in distress presents a risk to himself or herself and is a liability for the employing agency, and most importantly, a risk to the safety of others (Garbarino & Magnavita, 2015; Marshall, 2006). The stress police officers experience, whether occupational, work-related, psychological, or traumatic, can lead to substance abuse, behavioral disorders, mental disorders, suicide, and significant health related illnesses (Mumford, Taylor, & Kubu, 2015). A psychological collapse can lead to deviant behaviors, and health related illnesses. The way an individual responds to stress can mean the difference between a healthy physical and mental existence, or
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