Improving Mental Health for Corrections Officers: A Vital Conversation

Mental health is not a battle that can be won through physical strength or a stiff upper lip. Anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses do not respond to silent suffering. In fact, the most effective treatments involve talking in therapy and shining a light on those dark places many people are encouraged to wall off, shake off, or ignore. This challenge is particularly relevant for corrections officers who face unique stressors in their demanding roles. In this article, we will explore the mental health challenges faced by these dedicated professionals and how the Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center (MDC) addresses them.

officers in conversation
“Suppressing emotions can exacerbate mental health issues over time, affecting both personal and professional life.”

Challenges Faced by Corrections Officers

Corrections officers witness traumatic incidents occasionally. Whether it’s violence among inmates, self-harm, or other distressing situations, these experiences can take a toll on mental well-being. The emotional impact of such events cannot be underestimated.

Officers often suppress their emotions or avoid processing traumatic events due to the nature of their work. The stoic facade required in their role can lead to unaddressed emotional wounds. However, suppressing emotions can exacerbate mental health issues over time, affecting both personal and professional life.

Additionally, many officers hesitate to seek professional help because of the stigma surrounding mental health. They fear it will affect their career or be perceived as a weakness. This reluctance prevents them from accessing the support they need to cope with the unique challenges they face.

MDC’s Approach to Mental Health Support

MDC recognizes the critical role mental health plays in officers’ overall well-being. They actively promote mental health awareness by providing access to professional counseling services and encouraging officers to seek help without stigma.

The Bernalillo County Metropolitan Detention Center collaborates with the Public Safety Psychology Group (PSPG), a local company specializing in providing psychological services for first responders and law enforcement officers. PSPG provides specific training to help MDC officers deal with crisis situations effectively. This training equips officers with practical skills to manage high-stress incidents.

Furthermore, PSPG trains officers to conduct group therapy sessions. These provide a safe space for officers to discuss challenges, share experiences, and learn from one another. These sessions break down the isolation often felt by officers and foster a supportive environment.

Corrections officers face unique mental health challenges due to their demanding roles. MDC’s commitment to officer well-being includes professional counseling services, and PSPG’s role in training and group therapy contributes to a supportive environment. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and if you’re considering a career in corrections, explore the opportunities at MDC and be part of a highly respected team.