Stress is one of the prevalent mental conditions that can be experienced by any person regardless of their age, sexual orientation, social background or occupation unlike other psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia and dementia. The exposure of police offices to various traumatic conditions or experiences make them one of the leading group of people suffering from stress. According to Pastwa-Wojciechowska & Piotrowski (2016), the police force was ranked position two out of 60 other occupations in terms of stressful professions. Police officers are more likely to be stressed than other occupations due to their subjection to traumatic incidences. Police officers can experience stress from personal or work-related encounters. Individual experiences involve health concerns, strained family relationships or financial problems. Whereas, work-related problems include poor management, inadequate supply of equipment or poor relations between the police force and communities they serve. The consequences of stress on police officers can be severe. Hence, to ensure a stress-free police force, law enforcement agents should be educated on how to deal with stress, they should be equipped with necessary items to carry out their mandate and ensure better management of police officers.
Getting involved with educative programs to promote an understanding of stress from various perspectives such as causes, signs, impacts, and how to eradicate stress is one of the approaches to explore to curb the effects of stress on law enforcement agents. Such programs can be designed to equip police officers with self-regulation skills that would enable them to relax and adjust accordingly in various situations. For example, self-regulation training would help law enforcement agents to improve their sleep patterns, reduce negative emotions, and enhance their adaptability to stressful experiences or conditions. Self-regulation skills can be achieved through relaxation training, which can minimize stress-related health conditions and resilience training, which limits the effects of operational stress on behavioral and health outcomes (Beshears, 2016). Therefore, educating law enforcement agents on how to improve their self-regulation skills would help eliminate stress.
The promotion of resiliency through talks with family members or friends is another technique that can be implemented to eliminate stress experienced by police officers. Law enforcement agents can effectively manage stress by sharing their traumatic experiences by people close to them such as family members (Sadulski, 2018). As supported by the quote “sharing is caring,” the ability of police officers to share their disturbing experiences with people who are sympathetic relieves them of the burden of such encounters. Therefore, law enforcement agents should identify people whom they can share their experiences, which would enable them to feel much better.
Making good of use of off days by engaging in recreational activities is another option police officers can explore to eradicate stress. A study conducted by Goodman et al. (2017), supports that participating in leisure activities has significant mental health benefits, which involves stress elimination. Therefore, for law enforcement agents to stay stress-free, they should take part in recreational activities during their free time such as riding bicycles, mountain climbing, body exercises, and other outdoor activities. Such engagements are associated with mental health benefits since they enhance self-esteem creating a sense of balance, which reduces stress. Therefore, it is critical for police officers to engage in recreational activities during their free time to boost their well-being.
Stress in policing is one of the adverse challenges facing the police force that should be eradicated to ensure better service delivery. Stress experienced by law enforcement agents is either work-related or personal. Poor working conditions are primarily linked to job-related stress. Whereas, individual factors are associated with financial strains and health concerns. Therefore, to eradicate the issue of stress, police officers should be educated on how to deal with stress, participate in recreational activities, and always strive to share their experiences with people close to them.
Beshears, M. (2016, April 21). How police can reduce and manage stress. In Public Safety.
Goodman, W. K., Geiger, A. M., & Wolf, J. M. (2017). Leisure activities are linked to mental
health benefits by providing time structure: comparing employed, unemployed and homemakers. J Epidemiol Community Health, 71(1), 4-11.
Sadulski, J. (2018, January 28). How police departments can help officers cope with stress and
trauma. In Public Safety. Retrieved from https://inpublicsafety.com/2018/01/how-police-departments-can-help-officers-cope-with-stress-and-trauma/.
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