Law enforcement in Okaloosa County create a video to combat the stigma surrounding mental health and first responders

Published: Aug. 9, 2021 at 7:55 PM CDT
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Okaloosa County, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - The national organization Blue H.E.L.P teamed up with law enforcement agencies in Okaloosa County to let their brothers and sisters in blue know it’s ok to speak up about mental health.

And they are smashing the stigma surrounding first responder mental health... with a video.

A video that has been viewed hundreds of times.

“And in this video was sort of the idea of “I will talk” and “I will listen” so that you and your peers make a commitment to each other you will have this discussion openly and honestly about talking about what the current issue is what your problem is that you are dealing with and someone will listen to it,” Blue H.E.L.P Co-Founder Jeffrey McGill said.

Law enforcement leaders say it’s ok to talk about the struggles of the job of serving the community. And it’s ok to ask for help.

“I think this video and other initiatives like this are showing them that they can let their guard down a little bit and still be that tough person that they have to be at times,” Okaloosa County Sheriff Eric Aden said.

It’s a challenge to encourage officers and deputies to be willing to listen to each other and speak up about mental health in the profession.

“And to have bosses, big heads of agencies stand up and say no more, this is where it ends that is a big deal and it’s going to be the start of that change, where we are actually starting to talk about mental health and suicide in the career field,” McGill said.

Sheriff Aden added, it is critical for leaders of first responders to let their staff know they will be there for them and will listen to them if and when they need help.

Click here for the full video.

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