Mental-health conditions, barriers to care, and productivity loss among officers in an urban police department

Conn Med. 2012 Oct;76(9):525-31.


Background: Police officers are frequently exposed to situations that can negatively impact their mental health.

Methods: We conducted this study of an urban police department to determine 1) the prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and alcohol abuse; 2) patterns of and barriers to mental-health services utilization; and 3) the impact these conditions have on productivity loss.

Results: Among 150 officers, PTSD (24%), depression (9%), and alcohol abuse (19%) were common. Only46.7% had ever sought mental-health services; the most commonly cited barriers to accessing serviceswere concerns regarding confidentiality and the potential"negative career impact." Officers with mental-health conditions had higher productivity loss (5.9% vs 3.4%, P<0.001) at an annual cost of $4,489 per officer.

Conclusion: Mental-health conditions among police officers are common, and costly, yet most officers had never accessed mental-health services; many due to modifiable risk factors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alcoholism / epidemiology*
  • Connecticut / epidemiology
  • Depression / epidemiology*
  • Efficiency
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health
  • Mental Health Services / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Police / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population*