Grant to help provide mental health resources to Statesboro officers

STATESBORO, Ga. (WTOC) – Police officers in Statesboro will soon have valuable mental health training available.

In 2021, more than 600 police officers died across the country. Suicide accounted for about a quarter of these deaths.

The Statesboro police chief likened this training to the mental health version of first aid — perhaps CPR — something for quick response to deal with problems before they escalate.

Dealing with life and death issues on a regular basis can affect police officers over time and lead to some leaving the field and others taking their own lives. On Tuesday, Statesboro contracted with Georgia Southern to use federal grant money for a program to train department officers to spot problems and help co-workers fix them. While officers may have mental health professionals at their disposal, they often leave resources unused.

“There is a stigma around the whole issue of mental health. No one wants to admit they have a mental health crisis or issue,” Statesboro Police Chief Mike Broadhead said.

Earlier this year, the WTOC showed you teachers working with the police to prevent physical injuries at work. This training could help with internal, mental injuries.

“When you have peers — colleagues, individuals, within the department and you already have that connection and that trust — you give them the skills to go with you,” said the Georgia Southern professor. , Dr. Richard Cleveland.

Chief Broadhead says the program would also help officers’ families understand challenges and spot problems at home, all designed to keep officers healthy – inside and out.

The City of Statesboro and Georgia Southern are working on the paperwork and for the grant money to officially arrive. But they hope that this training will start as soon as possible.

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