Date of Award

2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

First Advisor

Tina Jaeckle

Second Advisor

Marcelo Catro

Third Advisor

James Pann

Abstract

The traumatic and cumulative stresses associated with a law enforcement career are well documented both empirically and anecdotally. While previous generations have acknowledged and coped with these stressors with varying levels of success, research shows that the millennial generation has reported more mental health issues than any generation in history. Since suicide is the single leading cause of death for United States law enforcement officers in recent years, addressing mental health should be a priority of all agencies. The introduction of millennial generation law enforcement officers creates the potential for increased mental health needs within the field. 25 millennial-aged Florida law enforcement academy recruits were interviewed in an effort to develop an understanding of their perception of mental health and suicide within the law enforcement career field. Developing an understanding of the perceptions of mental health and suicide from the perspective of millennial generation recruit officers offers insight into this birth cohort. This insight can begin to identify practices and procedures that have the potential to reduce the stigma associated with mental health and ultimately reduce the number of officer suicides. This study identifies training and policy needs which can be adopted by law enforcement agencies to mitigate mental health concerns. Additionally, this study offers suggestion for future research which may change police culture and its perceptions on mental health and suicide.

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