Have we ever considered that police officers behave badly because they’re just plain unhealthy? Your psychology degree is about to become a lot more valuable.
The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act (LEMHWA) was passed in Congress in 2017 and signed into law in 2018. Studies have shown that police officers’ health is relatively worse compared to the general US population. During 2004 to 2009, about 47% of all police officers worked a non-day shift compared to 9% of US workers. Rates of depression for police were 12% compared to 6.8% of the general population. Police were even four times more likely to sleep less than six hours within a 24 hour period. Mental health and wellness is the next stage of human evolution.
Send in the therapists. But like, for everyone.
If we’re recognizing the importance of mental health and wellness overall, why are we limiting benefit programs to just law enforcement? We know of mental health issues in homeless communities. Therapists/psychologists/whateverists can become providers for communities…not just cops.
We all want to be heard.
Focusing on the mental health and wellness of police officers alone does not address the symbiotic relationship between law enforcement and the communities they live in. Only healing police officers is like constantly breaking a cup and gluing it back together. We need a blanket approach to health and wellness that includes caring for citizens, not just servants. We need to address the average. We need to bend the curve.
Here’s the reality – the self-improvement industry is expected to grow to $13.2 billion by 2022. The general wellness industry is estimated to be about $4.2 trillion around the world. The entire entertainment industry of gaming, movies, and music combined is merely 5% the size of the global wellness industry. Health is huge. The demand for treating mental health and wellness is widely known and continues to grow. Why are we limiting benefits to only boys in blue? The fact is health is a collective. We must spread more health and less disease.
Outrage gets attention, but it’s in finding our commonalities where life for any one gets better. We don’t get better without each other.
Here we are again. We’re back. We’re back to the Great Depression. Back to civil unrest. Your George Floyd is my Rodney King. How does a single victim spark a riot?
The one true reason riots hit the streets is economics. Poverty and unemployment brew violence. You can point a finger at racism, but ignorance and bigotry lead to community and organization. Riots are rage and disorder. Dis-oOo-or-rrderr.
At the time of the LA Riots, the unemployment rate in affected LA was up to 18% with a poverty rate of almost 45%. Today, we have 40 million people unemployed with the most galactic gap in wealth of any society. Civil wars are about poverty.
Economics is the distribution of resources. When we’re forcibly stripped of our resources and our leaders leave to let us die, it only takes a single split end in the hairs of justice to burst into flames. This ain’t brain surgery. Test it for yourself. Find a really hungry pregnant lady and then smack the french fries out of her hand. Hold onto your riot shield.
Riots and societal chaos is beyond easy to prevent – Potato. Taters were once viewed as too ugly to be edible. It wasn’t food. King Frederick II (aka Old Fritz) used reverse psychology to create perceived value in the potato and then stealthily allowed peasants to steal from his fields. He fed them. Old Fritz reinvented the tater and now we can all have lots of tots about it.
You may see racism. You may see injustice and a putrid abuse of power. You should see that you’re poor. You should see how easily power is taken from you. You need to see that old laws and out-dated economics has a knee on your neck. We need to be a culture where all persons have dignity and no one is too poor to live. It’s safer. Heck, it’s even prettier. I like pretty.
Alas, here we are. History repeating itself. As promised.
Sonder is the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. We each have our own motivations, values, friends, etc. We’re all living our own story.
I was at my usual happy hour bar…where everybody knows my name. The bartender seemed unusually emotionally down. I sipped my wine and asked her, “Something wrong? You seem a bit low energy.” She said, “No…I’m fine. I’m good” with a distant blank gaze. So I asked, “In all your years bartending, what’s your worst experience?” She hesitated then lit up. She spoke a mile a minute, fuming about the most terrible customers taking advantage of her. I gently nodded to encourage her to keep going. When she got to the part of her story where she finally stood up for herself, I gave her a big smile. Her mood changed.
She went home and spent the weekend cleaning her home. The next day, she popped into work with her hair nicely done and makeup tidy. She returned poised and beautiful because someone noticed…and someone listened.
One-to-one conversations are the most powerful. It’s where we’re the most vulnerable. I love it. Whether it be lunch, a walk, or happy hour… One-to-one. There’s no other audience and you must tell a story. In all your years, what’s yours?
I failed my November writing challenge. The experience was great though.
The only line on my resume I dream about is to have “author” next to my name. Writing a book is the one item on my bucket list. I’ll get there.
But, what do I write about?