Finalist | Comprehensive Wellness
Harris County (TX) Sheriff's Office
2023 Comprehensive Officer Wellness Winner
The Harris County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) in Texas is the state’s largest sheriff’s office, covering 1,788 square miles with a population of 4.1 million residents. The HCSO employs a total staff of 4,614, including 2,237 sworn deputies, 1,681 working in detention, 696 civilian employees, and 200 reservists.
The Behavioral Health Division (BHD) of the HCSO collaborates with Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) to offer the nation’s first American Psychological Association (APA) Accredited Psychologist Internship, focused on addressing the mental health needs of law enforcement personnel and their families. The BHD conducts research to better understand occupational stressors affecting first responders and promotes wellness-promoting behaviors to mitigate these impacts.
The BHD operates a mental health clinic, offering confidential evaluation, consultation, treatment, and referral services for first responders. They also provide on-scene support during critical incidents, conduct wellness checks, and offer non-crisis consultation on behavioral health and supervisory issues.
The HCSO’s Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) Team, consisting of volunteers led by a Peer Support Team Coordinator, provides crisis intervention tactics and support before, during, and after critical incidents, aiming to mitigate the impact and accelerate recovery.
Preventing crises is a priority for the HCSO, and they offer foundational training in stress management, family wellness, substance abuse prevention, and suicide prevention for their personnel. They also provide access to an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Cigna, offering advocacy and resources for employees and their families.
The Lighthouse Health & Wellness app offers confidential health and wellness resources tailored to public safety personnel. The Cigna Healthy Pregnancies, Healthy Babies® program supports expecting mothers and rewards participation.
Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training is available through the National Council for Mental Well-being. The HCSO also has an emotional support dog named Gabriel.
Employees can access online wellness training courses on topics like physical health, nutrition, stress management, and financial wellness. The agency encourages the use of on-site gyms and offers fitness training classes for employees to earn points toward their Healthy Actions Medical Plan (HAMP).
In 2021, the HCSO implemented the ABLE Program training, mandatory for certified peace officers and detention officers. Additionally, they have a military liaison office to support deployed department members and their families with access to resources like the VA.
Overall, the HCSO prioritizes the well-being of its personnel through various programs, training, and support services.
This summary is only a brief overview of many of the agency’s programs. In the actual submission you will see that the agency has other programs and incentives to benefit its members. Please review their entire submission and its associated documents to gain a complete understanding of their program.
ResourcesHarris County (TX) Sheriff's Office | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Nomination
Harris County (TX) Sheriff's Office | 2023 Comprehensive Wellness Executive Summary