Police Department Sees Positive Impact on Officer Mental Health from In-House Counseling Unit

Police Department Sees Positive Impact on Officer Mental Health from In-House Counseling Unit

The Belize Police Department has seen tremendous results in the mental health of its officers after establishing an in-house counseling unit. A career in law enforcement is often noted as being filled with everyday challenges that may negatively impact a person’s mental health. To ensure the police have a way to seek professional assistance, the department created the unit last year. On Monday, the Commissioner of Police Chester Williams spoke about the evident benefits this new unit has brought for officers.   

Chester Williams, Commissioner of Police: “We do have our counseling unit under the leadership of Mr. Leslie and I must say that since he came on board over a year ago, he has been doing a lot in terms of assisting police officers with counseling for different reasons. The counseling unit is located in the Belama area and Mr. Leslie also takes the opportunity to go countrywide to meet with police officers who are desiring of his services. And so yes it is there. It is not a 24-hour thing as yet because it’s just him and a team of about two other persons who works with him. But we’re hoping that eventually we’ll be able to have a counselor in each region of the country. So we want to be able to have one in the northern region,  one in the western region, one in the southern region, and then we have the one here in the eastern region. That is the idea that we’re working towards, but again, it is going to take some time but it is not something that we’re going to give up on. I must commend the minister who made sure that we were able to make this first step in having at least one for now, because it’s something we have been pushing for quite some time, and we have never been able to make traction until now.”

The unit’s creation was spurred by the loss of several officers to suicide.

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