Expert discusses mental health of law enforcement after officer's death

Expert discusses mental health of law enforcement after officer’s death

Several law enforcement officers in the Oklahoma County area were killed or injured last summer. Since July, three law enforcement officers have died in Oklahoma County. The latest was Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Meagan Burke, who died in an off-duty crash on Interstate 44. Experts said the public needs to think about the mental health of officers when tragedies occur. “To see something like this happen is tragic,” said Jeff Dismukes of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “And that certainly has an impact on the other officers who are there.” Other officers who died recently include Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Bobby Swartz and Edmond’s police sergeant. CJ Nelson. Swartz was shot and killed while serving deportation papers, and Nelson died after someone rammed a motorcycle he was riding on. Experts from Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said these horrific situations had dire consequences. Many officers think they have to bottle up their emotions. “We have to remember that this is a vulnerable population when it comes to thoughts of evil and trying to take on such a burden,” Dismukes said. “There are thoughts that ‘I can’t reach’ because of what they’re doing. They don’t feel like they really have the ability to be vulnerable.” Dismukes said it shouldn’t be that way. “It’s a stigma, and it’s something that I think law enforcement is talking about more and more, trying to make it easier for people to get in,” Dismukes said. He said there are resources available for law enforcement. who deal with mental health. There are also phone lines, iPad programs, and video calls where they can talk to someone. But the best solution is to break the silence. see, a primary doctor or talk to family, talk to clergy,” Dismukes said. Anyone in Oklahoma can call 988 to reach someone on the mental health line.

Several law enforcement officers in the Oklahoma County area were killed or injured last summer.

Since July, three law enforcement officers have died in Oklahoma County. The latest was Oklahoma City Police Sgt. Meagan Burke, who died in an off-duty crash on Interstate 44.

Experts said the public needs to think about the mental health of officers when tragedies occur.

“To see something like this happen is tragic,” said Jeff Dismukes of the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. “And that certainly has an impact on the other officers who are there.”

Other officers who died recently include Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Bobby Swartz and Edmond’s police sergeant. CJ Nelson. Swartz was shot and killed while serving deportation papers, and Nelson died after someone rammed a motorcycle he was riding on.

Experts from Oklahoma’s Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services said these horrific situations had dire consequences. Many officers think they have to bottle up their emotions.

“We have to remember that this is a vulnerable population when it comes to thoughts of evil and trying to take on such a burden,” Dismukes said. “There are thoughts that ‘I can’t reach’ because of what they’re doing. They don’t feel like they really have the ability to be vulnerable.”

Dismukes said it didn’t have to be that way.

“It’s a stigma, and it’s something that I think law enforcement is talking about more and more, trying to make it easier for people,” Dismukes said.

He said there are resources available for law enforcement.

Some ministries have people within who deal with mental health. There are also phone lines, iPad programs, and video calls where they can talk to someone.

But the best solution is to break the silence.

“I think the best thing to do is to reach out and talk – whether it’s through the healthcare professionals you might see, a primary care doctor, or talking to family, talk to the clergy,” Dismukes said.

Anyone in Oklahoma can call 988 to reach someone on the mental health line.

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