COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KRDO) – The Colorado Springs Police Department has said it is making programs focused on emotional and mental health care a priority for its employees, in hopes of setting an example for services as well. at national scale.
Across the country there is a mental health crisis, and with agents answering more calls, the CSPD wants agents to be prepared and know how to take care of themselves.
The CSPD says that over the past five years, especially the past two, they have seen an increased need for mental health resources for their offices. CSPD offers a number of proactive programs, including three psychological service providers. The ministry says it has a large budget to pay for these services, so employees don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Their goal is to break the stigma attached to being a member of law enforcement and needing help.
“We are trying to break that mold and say that everyone has problems, everyone is going through a crisis, everyone sees trauma,” said Eric Frederic, the welfare sergeant for CSPD. “But back then, if that was something that happened, they would take your gun away from you and you couldn’t work, so now we say no, it’s normal, it doesn’t mean you’re broken, that it just means you need help like everyone else, ”added Frédéric.
The ministry says that their officers’ own understanding of mental health also helps them serve the community better.
“One of the things we’ve done is really to focus on crisis intervention training. Let our officers understand what someone is facing in a mental health crisis and how we can best help them. serve, and so when you face that, everyone in the mental health field knows it’s really hard, it’s costing you dearly, so we want to make sure our agents are willing to answer that call ”, said Sgt. Jason Newton with CSPD.
Newton began teaching a mindfulness course six years ago. He teaches simple techniques like breathing and meditation to help agents.
Newton and another officer will present this mindfulness course at the International Chiefs of Police and Welfare Symposium in March. It’s a chance to teach other resorts across the country how they’re dealing with mental health in Colorado Springs.