Wellness program helps officers manage stress and anxiety

Wellness program helps officers manage stress and anxiety

A meditation room, therapy dog and heart rate variability tools are all part of a peer support program designed to improve employee wellness

By Nancy Perry

Innovation is at the heart of the Gilbert (Arizona) Police Department’s employee wellness program. A meditation room, therapy dog and heart rate variability tools are all part of a peer support program designed to improve employee wellness.

Ed Morales is Gilbert’s peer support and wellness coordinator, helping officers and staff members manage their mental health.

Morales spent seven years in the Marine Corps doing clandestine operations. He then joined Gilbert as an officer and on the SWAT team. During that time, Morales was working under intense pressure and with little sleep. The stress of a career in the military and police force was catching up to him. “Eventually I felt my body starting to break down,” he said. Morales turned to yoga and meditation to get back on track. He went back to school to get a degree in social work and he took his knowledge and experience back to the police department.  

In this video, Morales describes some of the programs in place that provide Gilbert personnel with the skills and training to manage the thoughts and emotions that are typically associated with trauma. 

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