Date of Award
Doctor of Education (EdD)
Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological research was to describe the perception of law enforcement officers (LEOs) about the stigmatizing behavior they experienced from fellow officers in their organization, after they sought mental health services, following a traumatic event they were involved in.
Methodology: The methodology for this research study will be qualitative from a phenomenological perspective. Data was collected via semi-structured interviews with a purposive sample of 12 active and retired LEOs who served in southern California.
Findings: After the analysis, seven major findings were yielded. The major findings of the study are: (a) Within the law enforcement culture, psychological mediation has been perceived negatively for LEOs and perceived as weak and non-resilient, (b) LEOs knew about the various stigmas and potential negative consequences, but LEOs were still very much open to mental health treatment, (c) Seeking treatment from a reputable therapist with a law enforcement background can potentially expedite the healing process, (d) Increasing rates of LEO’s suicides needs attention, (e) Stigma exists within the law enforcement community around seeking mental health support, (f) Executive management needs to support LEOs who need assistance, and (g) Peer support was critical to LEO’s overall mental health treatment process.
Conclusion: It is concluded that seeking mental health services is key to keeping a healthy lifestyle for all LEOs. Also, it is crucial for executive management, colleagues, and peers and family to help recognize the signs of mental health illness and to provide assistance without any stigma attached. Having a positive attitude towards mental health and taking advantage of all mental health resources will be vital to a LEO’s health, career and most importantly their family.
Recommendations for Action: It is recommended that future studies be conducted on LEOs who have experienced a traumatic/critical event in their career and better gain the perspective of their mental health and their journey in seeking mental health services.
Park, Moses, "Mental Health Stigma and Law Enforcement Officers" (2022). Dissertations. 434.