MIDWEST CITY, Okla. (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services has received CARES funding that is providing additional mental health services to law enforcement in our state.
The $1.2 million will help over 7,500 law enforcement officers partner with Oklahoma agencies to get them the help they need.
Red Rock Behavioral Health Services is one state certified agency that is offering these additional mental health services.
“Our hope is that by offering additional support for our officers that they are going to be able to continue to offer support to our community and to our friends and our family to the best of their ability,” said Ariel Joseph, metro regional program director at Red Rock Behavioral Health Services.
The CARES funding will enable law enforcement officers up to 10 sessions for free, either through telehealth or in-person.
“We have had officers call in and we’ve had a lot of really great success meeting with officers, whether it’s for more of a debriefing or whether it’s for more long term ongoing therapy,” said Joseph.
Midwest City Police Chief Brandon Clabes said the calls they respond to can lead to post-traumatic stress building up, causing damage both personally and professionally.
“We are the responders to all of society’s ill wills and to the crises in the community, all the way from homicides to rape to child abuse, domestic abuse,” said Chief Clabes. “Over time those things build up and cause post-traumatic stress, they also cause internal stress, sleeping disorders, marital discord and even suicide.”
Chief Clabes said these additional resources, especially the virtual options, are a big help for officers’ mental health.
“It’s very important for us that we have this capability to provide immediate access to our officers in the field through the mobile tablet and that helps them process through these events,” said Chief Clabes.
Although the CARES funding will end December 31, 2020 that does not mean the support will stop. Joseph said now is the time for law enforcement to reach out for help if they need it, that way they will have a bond with the mental health agency already established and can continue to work together through the new year.