Police officers have the highest rate of suicides among any profession. There are 3 times as many police officers that commit suicide than die in the line of duty. Thank a Police Officer Day on Friday, September 17th, 2021, is a great opportunity to tell our officers how thankful we are for all they do and reevaluate how we support those who protect us.
Ways to Celebrate Thank a Police Officer Day
Police stations should keep these ideas in mind this Thank a Police Officer Day (and any day!).
1. Provide police officers an EAP or wellness program
Police officers tend to shy away from EAP programs and mental health resources. There is an expectation that police officers remain stoic and unbothered. Pushing trauma, stress, and emotional turmoil down for too long can lead to serious mental and physical health consequences.
Educate yourself on challenges that police officers face. You are likely already familiar with them. Choosing to acknowledge them will make coping easier.
It is crucial to find a police officer EAP program that will resonate with your police officers. EAP access must be extremely easy and streamlined. Otherwise, employees that are already unsure about getting help will definitely not follow through with the program.
Looking to increase the likelihood your police officers will use the EAP? Read on…
2. Offer mental health education
About 75% of police officers will never access the EAP their employer provides. That is why it is essential to go beyond providing the EAP – your station needs to sell it.
The key is to educate your police officers on the importance of mental health and emphasize that it is okay to talk about it. Your station can be a community that supports one another in this area!
Here are some ways to educate your police officers on mental health:
- Have a licensed counselor talk to your team about police officer mental health and how to cope with stressors
- Provide your police officers the Nivati Ulitmate Employee Mental Health Kit
- Talk about your own mental health struggles and what has helped you overcome them
3. Pay for their coffee
Little acts of kindness can make all the difference. Show that you care for your employees and purchase them a coffee (or their favorite drink). It’s a simple way to show your appreciation and break the ice for a more vulnerable conversation about mental health.
4. Leave gifts at the police station
Leave cookies for your team or bring in lunch for everyone. Take this as an opportunity to connect more deeply with your team. Give positive feedback and encouragement. Taking that time to build morale and provide support can help police officers feel like you appreciate them.
5. Write a thank you letter
It can be simple. You can even encourage your team to write thank-yous for each other. It’s all about recognition!
This can mean donating your time, money, or resources. How can you give back to your police officers? Perhaps you could have them over to your home or give some money back to your station.
Overall, the best way to show police officers you care on Thank a Police Officer Day is to provide them the tools they need to take care of themselves and provide encouragement on the way.
THE MENTAL FITNESS TOOLKIT
Get an overview of employee mental health in the workplace – what it is, why it matters, and how you can start supporting employee mental health!