Prince William County, Va.
With the alarming trend of mental health, diabetes, obesity, and other health concerns related specifically to first responders nationwide, Prince William County sought to provide employees with the tools necessary to recognize, combat, and ultimately prevent these wellness-related issues. In response to several difficult years within the Police Department, the County supported the initiative and the Police Department’s Wellness & Resiliency Unit was established in 2016 and given a mission to assist employees in maintaining and/or improving their overall wellness by providing a multi-faceted approach that offers educational opportunities, peer fitness support groups, and a variety of other tools. As the County and the Department have a goal of focusing on opportunities that are inclusive of all aspects of wellness, the Wellness & Resiliency Unit is responsible for overseeing a robust volunteer Chaplain Program, the Department’s Peer Support Team, and the Peer Fitness Advisor Team. All of these teams together have the tools to assist with overall wellness of employees including spiritual, social, and physical wellness. Continuing in this forward-thinking trend, the County recognized the importance of providing public safety staff with easily-accessible, quality mental health care in a way that both protected confidentiality of staff while also providing strong opportunities for rapport-building and law enforcement cultural awareness by the mental health provider. The Police Department, in partnership with the County’s Department of Fire and Rescue, Public Safety Communications, and Community Services Board, developed an idea for a Public Safety Resilience Program. The program would be a stand-alone unit within the County government. While the County does have an established Employee Assistance Program, this PSRP is offered in conjunction with the EAP services. This idea was implemented by the County in September of 2016. The Police Department also coordinates of variety of wellness-related training. The goal is to move toward a culture of awareness of healthy lifestyles in the workplace by providing educational opportunities, hands-on experiences, and small group presentations to address a large array of health and wellness-related topics for all employees.
Tara Van Horn