Mental Health

sec_arr Suspicion of a Significant Mental Health Disorder

Suspicion of a Significant Mental Health Disorder

The LEO may disclose to the employer that he/she has a mental health diagnosis and/or has been treated for such a condition. Absent direct disclosure by the LEO, an evaluation by the police physician should occur based on a credible third-party report or observation of one or more of the following work behaviors:

  • physical and mental slowing (psychomotor retardation)
  • flashbacks
  • responding to internal stimuli (e.g., hallucinations)
  • active or passive suicidal or homicidal ideation, gestures, threats or attempts
  • inappropriate affect
  • recurrent Monday lateness, unscheduled absences
  • change in appearance and hygiene
  • involvement in accidents
  • inappropriately aggressive behavior
  • worsening performance
  • unreliability in someone previously reliable
  • inability to concentrate
  • changes in nature of interpersonal relationships (such as conflict or withdrawal)
  • complaints against the LEO by members of the public, arrestees, or other officers
  • use of force incidents
  • time and attendance analysis (number of days, days of week – Monday/ Friday, type of injuries/illnesses)
  • unusual or excessive workers’ compensation claims
  • falling asleep on the job (while driving, during meetings, in a parked car)
  • safety errors/risk-taking behavior (speeding, not calling for backup)
  • hostility/anger/paranoia towards suspects or members of the public

Many of the above behaviors are also possible signs of drug or alcohol abuse. There is substantial substance abuse co-morbidity in persons with mental health disorders. The need for mental health evaluation may also become apparent to the police physician in the course of other evaluations of the LEO, such as return to work, periodic exams, injury care, and other referral settings.

*It is possible to hold a doctorate in another field, such as Divinity, and only master’s level training in psychology or psychiatry. Two states permit licensure as psychologist.