Increased attention has been given to police officer exposure to traumatic events as well as their prolonged involvement in stressful situations, environments, and working conditions. High stress can have precipitous negative effects on an individual’s mental health — including the onset of mental illnesses such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and/or anxiety. Moreover, research conducted in other fields of employment have shown that stress and stress-related disorders can cause problems with concentration, memory, and mood, which impacts workplace performance.
In addition, the recently passed H.R. 2228, "Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017," encourages identification of "case studies of programs designed primarily to address officer psychological health and well-being." At this Research for the Real World seminar, the National Institute of Justice proposes to bring together law enforcement practitioners and leading researchers in the field of stress to discuss the current research evidence and practical benefits of targeted stress-management interventions and how they can promote officer mental wellness. In addition, this gathering can provide an exploration into what additional research is needed to best support officer health and wellness, potentially highlighting priority areas for future research.