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‘It’s OK to not be OK’: SLPD hires mental health counselor for employees 

Jaime Welch (YouTube, Salt Lake City Police Department)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Salt Lake City Police Department now has a licensed clinical mental health counselor to help struggling officers and other employees.

The department announced the hiring of Jaime Welch Wednesday afternoon.

“We are so proud to welcome Jaime Welch to our Salt Lake City Police family,” Chief Mike Brown said in a statement. “Jaime brings counseling expertise in the fields of trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, first responder treatment, and crisis management.”

The department hired Welch in September.

“Jaime is adaptable, creative and her passion is serving first responders,” Brown said. “In her short amount of time with our department, Jaime has proven herself to be a leader in this field and she is helping our officers and professional staff to prepare and help them safely cope with the psychological strain of their duties.”

Welch grew up in the Salt Lake City area.

She said she will be available 24/7 to help officers and other employees.

“They’re able to contact me and I’m able to go out on scene and work with the officer,” Welch said. “I know sometimes these officers will experience these critical calls and go home and their family or the spouses are like, ‘what do I do?”

The department stressed that contacting Welch is completely confidential.

“It’s one of the most important things to me, it’s part of my licensure, is to honor confidentiality. That is, that is huge in this culture,” Welch said. “And, I know that without that, then we just don’t have a program. So that’s why I’m here and I am passionate about you knowing that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.”

Welch will also serve as the coordinator for the department’s Employee Wellness Program and Peer Support Program. They were established to help workers deal with the stresses of being a first responder.

Employees can schedule appointments with Welch immediately during work hours and they are not required to use time off for those appointments.

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