Published: Dec. 6, 2022

Four CU Boulder Faculty & Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) counselors recently completed specialized training to better provide mental health support for members of the university’s police department. 

The clinicians received Emergency Responder and Public Safety Clinician Certification education this spring, completing 40 hours of classroom learning and an additional 16 hours of experiential training.

Emergency Responder and Public Safety Certified Clinician badge

FSAP Director Stanly Ly said the training will help counselors play a key role in helping members of the University of Colorado Boulder Police Department (CUPD) feel supported, which will ultimately benefit the entire campus community. 

“At FSAP, our mission is to support the psychological well-being of our campus community,” said Ly. “In recognition that emergency responders are at much higher risk for mental health concerns and suicide when compared to non-emergency responders, we pursued an opportunity to continue our clinical education with advanced training working with public safety responders.” 

Ly said FSAP is also pursuing advanced training to better work with diverse populations in order to advance the university’s commitment to provide mental health resources to the CU Boulder employee community. 

CUPD Chief of Police Doreen Jokerst expressed her gratitude for the advanced training and collaboration. “This is one more resource we can add to our toolkit to provide mental health support to our officers and emergency responders,” she said. 

CUPD officers are offered services year-round through FSAP and an outside psychological services provider. The resources are especially helpful after individuals experience critical incidents, like a recent situation involving an officer discharging a weapon in order to slow a suspect’s vehicle to protect pedestrians. No one was injured in the incident. 

Licensed Staff Counselor Meredith Lopez said the training increased her understanding of how to best support first responders. “Learning more in-depth that our law enforcement folks are a specialized population with unique needs keeps me relevant as a provider and increases the understanding of both the culture and the stress and trauma that are inherent in this line of work,” she said.

“Our brains are hardwired to simplify our options under stress so that we can react quickly. This is natural and common amongst all of us, but most of our jobs do not regularly carry the responsibility of managing extremes like violence, imminent threat or disaster,” said Ly.

“We sincerely hope that by helping our helpers, both the community responder and our community will be better aided.”