Law Enforcement Toolkit

Officer Wellness and Safety Overview

Officers experience stress that can have a significant impact on both their physical and mental health. Witnessing these events can cause officers to struggle with alcohol abuse, depression, suicidal thoughts, post-traumatic stress disorder and other challenges.

Know the FActs

Nearly 1 in 4 police officers has thoughts of suicide at some point in their life.

The suicide rate for police officers is four times higher than the rate for firefighters.

In the smallest departments, the suicide rate for officers increases to almost four times the national average.

More police die by suicide than in the line of duty. In 2017, there were an estimated 140 law enforcement suicides.

Compared to the general population, law enforcement report much higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout and other anxiety related mental health conditions.

Source: NAMI.org

Secondary Trauma

Research has shown that stress from the job causes higher rates of heart disease, divorce, alcoholism and other psychological illnesses. Learn more about how first responders are impacted by and coping with the sometimes emotionally taxing nature of their jobs.

Learn more about Secondary Trauma by clicking here.


PoliceOne.com offers a variety of information regarding law enforcement and includes an off-duty tab that talks about subjects like mental health and stress management.


Lexipol offers informative, short videos on a variety of topics, including mental health. Users should access the on-demand option.

Online Resources for Mental Wellness

Nami.org Learn more about law enforcement mental wellness and find resources for officers from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) .

ValorForBlue.org The VALOR Program provides free training and technical assitance on four research based focus areas related to officer wellness: suicide prevention, vehicle-related injuries and deaths, assaults against officers, and job-related stress.

Firearms & Suicide Prevention Firearms are the leading means of suicide completions. Know the signs of suicide and learn how to intervene when you, or a loved one who owns a gun, are struggling.

Find Help

Self-Screening Tool: Take the self-screening test to see if you may need to reach out to a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation.

Find Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Find treatment centers and providers to help treat your substance use or addiction disorders.

Find Mental Health Support: Find treatment for your mental health disorders.

ADAMH Board Directory: Find out information on your local ADAMH Board.

Improving Police Interactions with people experiencing mental illness

Ten percent of police calls involve a person with a mental illness. Many times officers do not have the proper training to appropriately respond to these crises. In 2016, 1 in 4 people that were killed by police were living with a mental illness (Washington Post, 2016).

The most recent available data, while now over a decade old, suggests that approximately 10% of all police contacts with the public involve persons with serious mental illnesses (NIH, 2012).

Surveys of officers suggest that they do not feel adequately trained to effectively respond to mental health crises, that mental health calls are very time-consuming and divert officers from other crime fighting activities, and that mental health providers are not very responsive (Cooper, McLearen & Zapf, 2004; Vermette, Pinals & Appelbuam, 2005; Wells & Schafer, 2006).

Officers perceive mental health related calls as very unpredictable and dangerous, which without adequate training in deescalation, could inadvertently cause them to approach in a manner which escalates the situation (Ruiz, 1993; Ruiz & Miller, 2004).

Crisis Intervention Training (CIT)

Crisis intervention training (CIT) helps officers understand how to approach a mental health related crisis call, including the basic principles of deescalation.

Sign up for CIT training or learn more about evaluating existing CIT programs by visiting here.

Online Resources

QPR Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) Gatekeeper Training for Suicide Prevention is a 1-2 hour educational program designed to teach lay and professional "gatekeepers" the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to respond.

Local Mental Health Partners Ohio's mental health and addiction system is managed locally by ADAMH Boards. Boards can be an important resource for law enforcement partners.

Mental Health First Aid Training Resources Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course that teaches how to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. The training provides the skills needed to reach out and provide initial help and support to someone who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem or experiencing a crisis.

IACP's One Mind Campaign Every day, law enforcement professionals may encounter people with mental illness and their families or neighbors. IACP provides helpful resources for recognizing and dealing with an emotional crisis or a potential criminal act linked to a mental illness.

Criminal Justice Coordinating Center of Excellence Northeast Ohio Medical University compiled online training resources for law enforcement. Offerings range from dispatcher training on dispatching for the altered mental status call to officer training on risk assessment for violence.

Thank you for your never-ending service and dedication to your communities. If you are in need of immediate assistance, please contact:

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text 4HOPE to 741741.

For more information, please visit mha.ohio.gov or call (614) 466-2596

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a copyright violation, please follow the DMCA section in the Terms of Use.