HEALTHY MIND MATTERS

Former Police Officer Now Trained To Help First Responders With Mental Health

Apr 13, 2021, 7:31 PM | Updated: 8:08 pm

RIVERTON, Utah – Deputies from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office have started the healing process after two of their own were shot in the line of duty. A former police officer wants them and other first responders to know there is help.

You never know where a career is going to take you.

For Josh Whatcott, it took him from helping people as a South Jordan police officer, to now helping police officers with mental health.

“With the uncertainties, the calls for service, the traumatic event after traumatic event, I didn’t realize how much trauma was impacting my own personal life until I got myself into a real jam,” said Whatcott.

Speaking with a psychologist helped him to learn how to deal with difficult situations as well as coping skills when something was bothering him.

It helped him so much, Whatcott took classes to get licensed so he could help others.

He retired from South Jordan a few months ago and is now a certified social worker with The Partridge Group in Riverton, a psychologist team dedicated to helping first responders such as law enforcement officers and firefighters.

“We all have mental health that we should be dealing with on a regular basis,” he said.

When he heard about the two Salt Lake County sheriff’s deputies who were shot this past weekend, he said he hopes everyone involved will at least talk to someone about it.

“When you’re exposed to a traumatic event, you’re going to feel most of those feelings of uneasiness, unrestful, nervousness, irritabilities, sadness, and you’re going to see that anywhere between 3-15 days,” said Whatcott. “Pretty normal as your body begins to understand the exposure of this traumatic event.”

Of course, he knows the macho appearance law enforcement officers like to have.

He had it himself.

However, he also knows how important mental health is.

Even for the toughest officer.

By talking about it, Whatcott hopes to normalize it.

“Finding healthy avenues. Finding healthy coping skills. Coming in and talking to a therapist and working through those,” he said.

It helps that Whatcott has been where many of the law enforcement officers he sees are.

Those peer-to-peer chats can be extremely helpful.

“Whenever you can relate with other people, it begins to take a little bit of that edge off,” he said. “It’s okay not to be okay. Like, oh you felt like that? I did, too. Let’s talk about it.”

Some of the signs Whatcott says to look for that something may not be right include not being able to sleep well, being annoyed more often by little things, or maybe even arguing with your spouse more.

Whatcott believes talking about it helps.

He has seen what happens to those who have difficulties coping far too often.

“That’s the important part,” he said. “Otherwise, if you choose not to do that, you rabbit hole and you sink. Massive depression, isolation, this is where we start losing, unfortunately, cops to their own weapons.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Healthy Mind Matters

...
Tamara Vaifanua

Salt Lake Co. offers workshop for teens struggling with body image

For the first time, Salt Lake County Youth Services is offering a free workshop for teens who struggle with body image issues.
7 days ago
(KSL TV)...
Matt Rascon

KSL+ One man’s heart-shaped mission to prevent suicide

Mental health challenges continue across the state. This week, the story of one man’s mission to prevent suicide with reminders that people matter.
14 days ago
...
Ayanna Likens

You can call or text new mental health resource (988)

The nation’s newest mental health resource isn’t just a phone call service – you can text it, too.
27 days ago
The number for the national suicide prevention hotline, 988....
Ayanna Likens

Utah’s connection to a national 3-digit suicide prevention hotline

It will soon be easier than ever to connect with mental health professionals across the country during a crisis as the three-digit phone number, 988, launches this Saturday.
29 days ago
Posters at the Department of Health and Human Services offers advice on preventing and getting over...
Jed Boal

How community postvention tool kit helps communities after a suicide

How our communities respond after a suicide death matters and that's why the Utah Suicide Prevention Coalition created an online tool kit to help.
1 month ago
LGBTQ teens at an Encircle activity....
Ashley Moser, KSL TV

Parents’ support key to mental health among LGBTQ+ youth, experts say

Nearly 20 percent of adults in the U.S. live with a mental health condition. In the LGBTQ+ community, that number is three times higher. Experts say family support is crucial to an adolescents’ mental health.
1 month ago

Sponsored Articles

tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
cyber security through multi factor authentication setup...
Les Olson IT

How multi factor authentication setup helps companies stay safe

Multi factor authentication (MFA) setup is an important security measure that every company should implement for their workers. It’s also wise to install it for your personal and home accounts.
...
Lighting Design

Check out these stunning lamps with stained glass shades

Lamps with stained glass shades are statement pieces that are more than simply aesthetic. They also meet a functional requirement: to light up a room.
Address Bar of internet browser shows internet access...
AARP Utah

Utah voters 50+ support increased access to Internet

The AARP surveyed Utah voters aged 50 plus about internet access and if they support the expansion of broadband, especially in rural areas currently lacking it.
Former Police Officer Now Trained To Help First Responders With Mental Health