Mental Health of Officers

Police officers face a myriad of threats to their mental health due to repeated exposures to life-threatening and emotionally disturbing incidents, irregular schedules, working overnight, disrupted family routines, and extreme public scrutiny, among other factors. The impact of these threats is far reaching and affects a substantial portion of the law enforcement profession.

One in four police officers have experienced suicidal thoughts1 and the suicide rate of police officers is four times higher than the suicide rate of firefighters.2 Between 7-19% of police officers live with PTSD symptoms, compared to 3.5% of the general population.3 

Given these figures, the Lincoln Police Department recognizes that the mental health of our officers needs to be a priority. Trained Peer Support personnel are available to assist employees during times of need. LPD also partners with an outside counseling group which is available to assist officers and their families. Additionally, ongoing stress management and stress reduction training is offered by the department both during the basic academy and for veteran officers.

Our department has also been identified as a pilot agency in the VALOR Officer Safety and Wellness Program. This program helps officers remain physically and mentally prepared for duty so that they can return home safely after every shift. We believe the mental health of our officers should be a priority for any law enforcement agency. By ensuring that our officers are mentally cared for, we are in turn able to better prepared to serve community members.


  1. Violanti, J. M. (2010). Police suicide: a national comparison with fire-fighter and military personnel. Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & Management.
  2. Carlier, I. V., Lamberts, R. D., & Gersons, B. P. (1997). Risk factors for posttraumatic stress symptomatology in police officers: A prospective analysis. The Journal of nervous and mental disease, 185(8), 498-506.
  3. Gersons BP. (1989). Patterns of PTSD among police officers following shooting incidents: A two-dimensional model and treatment implications. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 2, 247-257.