SAN DIEGO – It is more important than ever to support the health and wellness of all Sheriff employees. That support will help the San Diego County Sheriff's Department retain employees who are better able to care for their families and serve our communities.
The Sheriff's Department has always had wellness programs that include peer support, a Chaplaincy program and a contract with the Counseling Team International, as well as a risk management and medical liaison units. The addition of a wellness team which will coordinate with these existing programs and is available to Sheriff's staff when critical incidents occur or any other stressors happen is crucial to our success as an agency.
The California Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) recently announced grants for law enforcement to support wellness programs, particularly for law enforcement officers and deputies. The San Diego County Sheriff's Department is the recipient of approximately $1.8 million from this program.
Last month, the Board of Supervisors approved action to allow the Sheriff to receive these monies, which will fund the wellness program for the department.
The men and women of law enforcement face many unique challenges related to their day-to-day responsibilities. The stress created by the job can take a mental and physical toll.
The Sheriff's Wellness Unit will provide resources to help employees overcome depression, work stress, divorce, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Employees in good mental and emotional health are more likely to be engaged in their work and will be more able to provide the highest quality public safety services.
Among the services that will be provided by the Sheriff's Wellness Unit are:
· 24/7 staff that can assist any employee going through a mental health crisis (professional or personal)
· Hosting "Wellness Day" events for new sworn and professional employees to make them aware of the services provided by the department to help with their mental and emotional health
· During new employee orientations, Sheriff's Wellness Unit staff will share information about available wellness resources
· The Sheriff's Wellness Unit will also conduct station visits, provide training to staff and other proactive activities to raise wellness awareness
Another goal of the Sheriff's Wellness Unit is to make all employees feel supported and valued. This feeling of "family" starts on the first day someone begins their career with the Sheriff's Department.
The Sheriff's Wellness Unit will provide employees a safe and confidential environment to share their concerns in a compassionate manner. The goal is to help and empower our work force to take advantage of our wellness resources to live happier and more rewarding lives.
Submitted by San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.