SLCPD hires its first full-time mental health counselor for officers

The Salt Lake City Police Department has hired its first full-time psychiatrist to assist the officers. (Laura Seitz, Desert News)

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SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Police Department has appointed its first full-time licensed clinical mental health counselor.

Jaime Welch, who has 25 years of experience in counseling and specializes in treating first responders who experience mental or emotional trauma — possibly because they had just been involved in a serious accident — was appointed in September to become the department’s mental health physician.

Previously, officers who needed advice had to contact an outside provider and arrange a meeting. Welch, who has an office within the Public Safety Building, will be available 24/7 for Salt Lake City police officers who need support. In a video produced by the department and posted on YouTube, Welch, who has been with the police since 2018, said that if an officer was involved in the shooting in the middle of the night, for example, she would be available to go to the scene and talk to the officer in question before he went so The officer goes home.

“I’m excited that you know it’s okay to not be feeling well sometimes. It’s normal and natural to feel anxious out of nowhere and not know why or any of these other symptoms. It’s a normal experience and no officer should have to feel like they have to. He deals with him or he has to deal with him alone.”

Welch is state licensed to practice mental health therapy. Her new role also includes being the coordinator of the department’s employee wellness program and peer support program, which also helps first responders deal with the traumatic experiences and stress that come with the job.

“We are very proud to welcome Jaime Welch to the Salt Lake City Police family. Jaime provides counseling expertise in the areas of trauma, PTSD, suicide prevention, first responder therapy and crisis management. Jaime is adaptable, creative and has a passion for serving first responders. She brings a deep desire to help others. in law enforcement,” President Mike Brown said in a prepared statement.

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