LPD counselor discusses officers’ mental health after responding to graphic scenes

Published: Aug. 22, 2023 at 6:28 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Law enforcement officers spend their lives serving and protecting others. However, responding to difficult situations and seeing graphic crimes can take a toll on their mental health.

On Monday, a murder-suicide involving two children shocked Lubbock. Unfortunately, officers see incidents like these firsthand. Doctor Andy Young with the Lubbock Police Department discussed the growing concern for law enforcement officers’ mental health.

“Officers see that one percent of society that most people don’t believe exists,” said Young.

Young has worked with law enforcement agencies for 23 years as a counselor. He defines the field as rewarding, but taxing, especially when it comes to mental health. He stated one of the biggest challenges is getting officers to communicate after a gruesome incident.

“You don’t know where people are mentally and emotionally and what affects one person doesn’t necessarily affect another person,” said Young.

Young stated officers are often affected by cases that involve something or someone to whom they can relate.

“If I have a child the same age as the child that is deceased, because I can identify with that, I am more likely to get anxious or depressed because it feels like it’s close to home and I start to worry about what might happen to my family,” Young said.

Young stated it is important for officers’ loved ones to keep a close eye out for uncharacteristic traits at home.

“They might be a little withdrawn, they might be seemingly depressed because they are seeing difficult things and trying to adjust to that. It would make sense that they are angry and frustrated, because they have limited power to effect situations that clearly need some sort of change and assistance,” Young said.

After experiencing graphic events, officers are contacted by multiple resources within the department in hopes to assist officers and their families.