Becoming an officer for a law enforcement agency has always come with its fair share of challenges, yet brave men and women dedicate their lives to serving others despite the stress, danger, and sometimes even public criticism that comes with the territory these days. These courageous officers deem saving lives and helping their communities more important than any of that.
However, the negative factors, whether it’s physical danger or mental anguish, can still impact law enforcement officers on a regular basis. While acknowledging the individual strength and determination of each officer, it’s important to know that nobody has to navigate these trials and tribulations alone. There are a multitude of resources available to officers and their families ranging from general wellness to mental health, financial aid, and so much more.
Below, we’ve spotlighted some of these organizations and their functions as well as included a list of more in different categories.
The All Clear Foundation supports all first responders with a goal of overcoming the stigma of asking for help and providing access to these resources for those in need. They provide several ways to connect, including “Responder Rel8,” a first responder peer connect app; and a crisis text line for crisis counselor support. Additionally, they have an incredibly valuable resource search system where you can filter your search through different categories of assistance—family/social, mental/emotional, physical, and spiritual—and further subcategories—finance, grief, pandemic, stress management, and more. The search includes different types of resources, such as counseling, grants/scholarships, peer support, podcasts, training, etc.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police offers a wide variety of resources on topics, one of which is “Law Enforcement Family Resources.” This resource center includes downloadable content guides and blog posts that walk you through subjects including discussing your job with your family, estate planning, reducing stress, maintaining a healthy relationship, and more.
Founded by a former officer who struggled with addiction behind the scenes and later became a substance abuse counselor to help others in their own rehabilitation journeys, Safe Call Now provides officers with a confidential way to seek help without the fear of job loss or stigma. This organization is staffed by trained professionals and former LEOs. In addition to providing someone to talk to, Safe Call Now partners with public safety groups, unions, and mental health professionals to provide support services, trainings, and programs on a variety of topics, including substance abuse and mental health concerns.
The Code Green Campaign started with a storytelling program, still in place today, where first responders can anonymously share their experiences with mental health issues. Stories are then shared on the Code Green website and social media, allowing other first responders to read the stories and know that they are not alone in their struggles. They also offer financial assistance towards mental health care and associated costs. Education and awareness is also an important goal of Code Green as they aim to combat the stigma of mental health as well as officer suicides. Code Green works with partner organizations, including Blue H.E.L.P. (see below), to track first responder suicide data in order to combat it more effectively. Finally, they offer a resource database filled with mental health professionals who specialize in treating first responders, chaplains, peer support teams, podcasts, blogs, and more.
National 9-99 focused on three main causes in aiding law enforcement: K-9 Support & Relief, Injured Officers, and Post-Traumatic Stress. In aiding injured officers, National 9-99 provides funds to help with unexpected costs associated with injury, even providing scholarships to officers whose injuries prevent them from returning to work, as well as connecting injured officers with mental health experts at a pro-bono or discounted rate. They have also created a network of providers who can offer mental health counseling and psychiatric services to those suffering from PTSD pro-bono.
For families of fallen officers or permanently disabled officers:
- National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
- First Responders Children’s Foundation
- Concerns of Police Survivors
For officers or former officers suffering from PTSD or other mental health issues:
For officers and families’ overall wellbeing: