"You can't open up to somebody if you think it's going to cost you your job"

Sep 10, 2020

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When you think about mental health and police work, it's hard not to let your imagination flash back to the books, movies and TV shows that portray tough-guy (and gal) officers refusing to see a departmental counselor after some traumatic event.

Duluth's Dr. Heather Rose-Carlson laughs when she describes the counselor, usually depicted running down a hall after the fleeing police officer.

"Psychology hasn't helped that image, either," she says, referring mental health providers sometimes charged with evaluating an officer's "fitness for duty." So when she worked to implement the PeerConnect program for the Duluth Police Department. one of the things she made sure those evaluations were not part of her work.

It's part of what she decribes as trying to create "a culture of connection" to help police maintain better mental health.