NAMI COPE is a resilience-building peer support program designed specifically for law enforcement, modeled on the NAMI Connection support group, a peer-led, 90-minute, weekly confidential support group for those experiencing mental health challenges.
“With rising suicide rates for police officers and nearly 500 Californians killed in officer-involved shootings (OISs) between 2016 and the present, the time is now to provide more support for law enforcement to protect their ranks and the general public,” said Jessica Cruz, NAMI California’s CEO. “Studies show that stress impairs a person’s ability to regulate emotions and behaviors, and we know that the situational stress that law enforcement agents face regularly can have devastating effects on mental health. We are pleased to be working with law enforcement to create a peer support system to help officers.”
- Launching with the University of California, Davis (UCD) Police Department (PD) and the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) PD.
- Designing the law enforcement-specific support group in a culturally responsive way for police officers, and peer law enforcement facilitators
- Rolling out one statewide training for police department representatives.
- Creating a NAMI COPE toolkit and distribute it to trained peers. This blueprint will have vetted resources and guidance to facilitate the launch of new wellness programs.
CEO Jessica Cruz and Briana Vargas from our staff are working on COPE, as well as BART’S Deputy Chief Jeffrey Jennings in Professional Standards and Training and UCD’s head of training. There is also a COPE Advisory Committee, which includes NAMI CA Board members as chairs: Armando Sandoval, CIT Coordinator, a Community Outreach Liaison, BART PD; and Chief Joseph Farrow, UCI PD; a CA State Sheriffs’ Association representative will also be recruited.