Breaking the Stigma

Brothers and sisters in blue,


We aspire to protect and bring justice, but too often we neglect to protect and be fair to ourselves. From domestic violence cases, accidents, shootings, robberies, children in danger, we’ve seen it all! And let’s face it –it all takes a toll in our emotional, mental, social and physical wellbeing.


Suicide is the number one cause of death for law enforcement officers (Kulbarsh, 2016). Let that sit for a while…


We can no longer ignore the impact and the affects that experiencing constant crisis has on our mental health. Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of the common mental disorder experienced by many law enforcement officers. Post-traumatic stress disorder is classified by experiencing/witnessing a life threatening event. With PTSD, individuals experience intense disturbing thoughts, flashbacks, nightmares, fear, anger, sadness and avoidant behaviors (Parekh, 2017). Facing traumatic events is hard enough for anyone, especial law enforcements that are expose to multiple trauma in an ongoing basis; admitting that there is a problem related to that is even harder. Often officers worry about their jobs, their egos, their reputations. However, it is in the call of duty that the police profession break through the stigma of mental health within the profession so that our community of officers thrive both on the job and outside in their personal lives.


This is my hope, with this blog post. That the break-through starts with us. As a fellow law enforcement professional, I lived and witness the hardship that accompanies the job. There were sleepless nights and restless mornings. Too many days that I questioned why I was on the job. We are called to serve and if we are unable to adequately serve then we are not doing our duty.


That is why officers, I write this post to inform about the warning signs of PTSD, suicide ideations and distress impairments that can help in identifying if you or a team member are in need of mental health services. In order to build on coping skills to continue the great work you do.


Signs of change due to stress:

Physical changes


-Muscle Tension

-Chest pain

-Shallow breathing

-Rapid heart beat


Cognitive and Emotional Changes


-Difficulties concentrating

-Heighten or lowered alertness

-Blaming others


-Feeling anxious, fear, guilt, grief


Behavioral Changes


-Lack of motivation


-Emotional outburst

-Appetite changes

-Impairment in social functioning


Things that you can do to break the stigma and seek help


-Change your frame of thought!

-Don’t think getting help is taboo. Your mental health is as important as your physical health…. Can’t chase a robber with a twisted ankle!

-Seek a support system from family members, friends, co-workers.

-Seek relationships and participate in social functions outside of work.

-Get moving!

-Exercise, yoga, rock climbing, you name it!

-Exercise your mind!

-Read, meditate

-Build on your confidence mentally and physically- get into martial arts

-Watch your eating and sleep hygiene.

-Eat healthier

-Set a relaxing atmosphere to sleep

-Take time off from work.



-Seek experts that will guide you in reinforcing your coping skills.





Kulbarsh, P. (2016, January). 2015 police suicide statistic. Retrieved from


Parekh, R. (2017, January). What is posttraumatic stress disorder? Retrieved from




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