Emotional Health in Corrections
As the end of the year draws near, I’d like to take a moment to thank all the hard-working custody and medical professionals putting forth their best efforts each day in our jails and prisons. Working with the incarcerated population in a challenging environment with extraordinarily high expectations is no easy task. We do our best to keep things in perspective and take care of our family, friends, and co-workers. Sometimes, we may forget to pay attention to our own health and any one of us may need some help to cope with everything life throws at us.
I truly believe those working in corrections are the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system. There is a culture of toughness and, sometimes, we tend to hold things bothering us inside. This allows stress to build and can result in both physical and emotional conditions that can impact our effectiveness at work and our happiness at home. There are employee assistance programs and hotlines available for those in crisis, but sometimes we are too proud to reach out.
I’d like to suggest that It’s time we all put our ego aside and talk to someone about what bothers us. It may be a friend, a neighbor, a spouse, a parent, a pastor, a co-worker, a counselor, a psychologist, a psychiatrist, your supervisor, or anyone else you feel you can trust. As someone who has gone through some significant life experiences, I am happy to tell you that I have confided in many individuals and I absolutely benefitted from the EAP that my organization offered. You will be amazed how many people truly care about you and have been in a similar situation or have struggled with the same challenges you face. You are more important than you know. You matter.
SAMHSA published several signs to look for that may help you determine if someone is at risk for suicide, I’m including them below. Let’s all focus on being mindful, look out for ourselves and each other as we move into a healthy, safe, and prosperous 2023!