Alderman asks: When do overworked cops have time to tap mental-health services?

Chicago PD headquarters
Chicago police medallion at headquarters. Photo credit Getty Images

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) — The Chicago City Council is looking at how well the police department is helping its officers cope with the mental stresses of the job.

A virtual joint hearing of the Council’s Public Safety and Health committees got off to a poignant start Thursday with comments from Juliet Troglia, the widow of Police Officer Jeff Troglia, who took his own life. She talked about the continuing pressures on officers.

Alexa James, CEO of the Mental Health group NAMI Chicago, told aldermen that police officers are more likely to die by suicide than any other cause.

“They experience continual trauma. They also experience physical injuries that impact their mental wellness,” James said. “This is, unfortunately, the perfect recipe for officers feeling hopeless and some using substances to manage stress and trauma response.”

City officials say mental health assistance is available for officers more than ever, but 23rd Ward Ald. Silvana Tabares was skeptical.

“How are they supposed to access these resources and these programs when their days [off] are getting constantly canceled?”

Elena Gottreich, deputy mayor for public safety, said canceled days off and mandatory long hours have been sharply scaled back.

Everyone agreed that more help — and more mental health professionals — are needed. The department is having trouble hiring enough clinicians, officials say.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Getty Images