Full Access to Elizabeth Strong, Program Manager at NW3C, Wellness & Mental Health Initiative
We depend on law enforcement personnel to be on top of their game 24 hours a day, no questions asked. They’re always making split second decisions which are always under scrutiny. The expectations of them are unrealistic, especially without considering mental health and wellness.
Mental health and wellness are part of the constant maintenance everyone needs to be their best, especially law enforcement. If someone is expected to be on their game 100% of the time, making decisions that alter people’s lives, they need to have the capacity and room to make those decisions.
This episode’s conversation with Elizabeth Strong outlines the need for mental health and wellness among law enforcement, dispatchers, public safety, fire, EMS, and so many more.
[02:15] The importance of training and mental wellness for law enforcement personnel
- Elizabeth’s time as a dispatcher is what started her interest in mental health and wellness
- Law enforcement expected to be on their game, under constant scrutiny, 100% of the time
- Mentally well officers make better decisions
[08:01] Receptiveness of law enforcement professionals
- In the early years of the movement, there was a lot of pushback from some of the older officers.
- People are slowly becoming more receptive
- The age demographic is shifting, and mental health and wellness is more normal for the younger generation
- Agencies expect training to cost a lot of time and money
[15:19] Creating a culture of mental wellness
- Talking about mental wellness needs to become normal
- Command staff and supervisors have to buy-in
- Having culturally competent, subject matter experts is essential to ensure people have a good experience from the start.
[22:35] Best practices for support personnel to care for themselves mentally
- People need to give themselves space to be aware of how they’re doing, and they need to be able to communicate that
- Give permission to be human, then prepare when possible
- Pay attention to people’s needs and don’t wait for extremes
[27:40] What is the NW3C?
- The organization works with law enforcement to train and provide support and technical assistance to law enforcement and regulatory agencies to help with prevention, investigation, and prosecution of high tech and financial crimes
- It offers no-cost training
- Recently, the organization added a mental wellness component
- Self-paced wellness trainings online
[36:53] Being proactive about wellness
- Be honest and communicate
- Law enforcement looks put-together from the outside, but often people don’t know how to ask or that they should ask if everything is ok
- Do something enjoyable and take time with some friends
[42:12] Connect with Elizabeth Strong