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Retired LAPD, LASD detectives advocate for mental health support in law enforcement

In a heartfelt plea to their fellow law enforcement officers, retired Los Angeles Police Department homicide detective Barry Telis and retired Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detective Tania Owen have come forward to share their personal experiences with mental health and to urge their peers to seek help when needed.

Their courageous testimonies shed light on the challenges faced by officers who often hesitate to ask for assistance due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues within the police community.

In 2016, Tania Owen’s husband, LASD Sgt. Steve Owen was murdered in Lancaster. Tania revealed she had been silently suffering from overwhelming thoughts of suicide despite appearing outwardly composed.

She expressed the difficulty of reaching out for help, especially given the prevailing stigma attached to seeking assistance, particularly as a law enforcement officer.

Barry Telis further emphasized that the fear of job repercussions and the lack of trust in management have contributed to the reluctance among officers to discuss their mental health struggles.

Officers who open up about their difficulties often fear being assigned to non-public contact positions, effectively ending their careers, which discourages them from seeking help.

Barry and Tania stress that police officers, just like anyone else, are human beings, and it’s perfectly acceptable to admit when they are not OK. They encourage their peers to reach out to organizations that provide much-needed support, one of which is, The Wounded Blue.

The Wounded Blue is an independent organization created by law enforcement. They offer free and confidential peer support. Its mission is to provide assistance to those in the law enforcement community who are struggling with mental health issues.

Updated 11:05PM
Mental Health
Fox 11

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