School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Don Small


Law Enforcement Officers, PTSD, Help-seeking Behaviors, Mental Wellness, Stigma, Counseling


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this transcendental phenomenological study was to understand the organizational and personal factors affecting law enforcement officers' willingness to seek mental health assistance following a stressful/traumatic experience from the perspective of the law enforcement officer. The effect of stigmas associated with mental health-seeking behaviors and its impact on the reluctance of law enforcement officers' willingness to seek assistance is the central phenomenon of this study. Study participants included twelve active and retired law enforcement officers from the northern part of the state of Minnesota in an effort to elicit rich narratives and lived experience from this target population. Data were collected through the uses of semistructured one-on-one individual interviews. Great efforts have been made in the law enforcement community to bring awareness to and foster the mental health needs of law enforcement officers. The law enforcement community joined forces with the mental health community, in an attempt to counter the stress and trauma associated with the law enforcement profession.

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