Thursday, March 24, 2022

Vestal Police Department addresses mental health, wellness in app for personnel - WBNG


VESTAL (WBNG) -- Our life experiences contribute to our mental health, and as you can imagine, members of law enforcement see distressing things everyday.

“We’re expected to react like robots without emotion both physically and mentally. The truth is we’re human just like everybody else,” said Captain Christopher Streno with the Vestal Police Department.

To acknowledge the daily stress of the job, the Vestal Police Department has decided to offer its personnel a wellness app with direct access to services and resources.

“The more we can help our employees deal with any situations that come along, the better off they are personally, the better off their families are, and the better off our community is that we serve in,” said Captain Streno.

This is one example of a larger scale effort by New York State. A new requirement exists to have a policy to address officer wellness, which has to be in place by April 1.

Captain Streno discussed some of the features of the app. “General questions, self-assessment tools, easy light stufff. If you’re really having a personal crisis, there’s immediate help that’s available,” he said.

With these tools at the palm of their hands, Captain Streno hopes personnel can better navigate being exposed to any traumatic incident big or small in scale. “Even low level stress accumulates over time and can become as stressful as one single critical incident,” he said.

During the captain’s chat with 12 News, he explained his hope for the app’s effectiveness. “If you can just help one person, then every effort you make is worth while,” he said.

This tool is available for the department’s personnel as of a few weeks ago. For the community features of the app, like access to accident reports, contact information, and the town emergency plan, search ‘Vestal Police’ in your phone’s app store.

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