SANTA BARBARA — The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office has been awarded grant funding of $123,596 from the United States Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act program.
According to a news release, the Sheriff’s Office plans to use the grant funds to establish a peer support program, which will be an in-house support resource for employees and family members in the event of a professional or personal crisis.
“The law enforcement profession is a profoundly noble one — but often comes with a cost,” Dr. Cherylynn Lee, co-founder of the Peer Support team, said in a statement. “Cumulative stress and symptoms of post-traumatic stress are becoming better recognized within law enforcement as a major component of police work. Peer support is a well-recognized best practice for the first responder community that allows for specially trained peers to have a formal role of supporting personnel.”
“Peer support programs have shown to improve emotional and psychological well-being, reduce stress, improve relationships and improve overall quality of life for first responders,” she continued. “We are grateful to have secured this funding to offer this resource to members of our department.”
For more information on the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act program, call the COPS Office Response Center at 800-421-6770 or visit the COPS Office website at cops.usdoj.gov.
— Madison Hirneisen