When exploring the intersection of various professions and mental health, it is crucial to acknowledge that no occupation remains exempt from these considerations. The significance of mental health often languishes in the shadows, obscured by notions of shame, marginalisation, gender-based biases and societal stigma, to the extent that individuals may refrain from seeking the help they require. On an annual basis, numerous conferences, both nationally and internationally, are committed to shining a spotlight on mental health, emphasising not just awareness, but proactive engagement.
Mental health is a subject that affects individuals across a broad spectrum, encompassing active law enforcement professionals, retired law enforcement officers, contemporary music artists, clinical psychologists and writers. It is noteworthy that mental health and mental illness do not discriminate based on gender or race. In fact, the complexities of mental health and mental illness are often concealed, making it impossible to engage in conversations with those who silently bear the burden.
The Impact of the Inaugural Mental Health and Wellness Policing Summit
The Inaugural Mental Health and Wellness Policing Summit placed a dedicated focus on mental health awareness. On reflection, it boasted a diverse roster of mental health awareness advocates, who are diligently implementing and actualizing mental health and wellness programs. Frank Ray, a retired police officer who closed the Summit gave a keynote address on mental health awareness and performed a few of his hit songs during the evening cocktail reception.
This conference refrained from imposing any restrictions on the topics discussed. It encompassed a wide spectrum of issues, addressing concerns related to both male and female law enforcement personnel who are currently serving as well as retirees and assembling a speaker panel that represents a cross-section of the nation.
Often, discussions surrounding mental health predominantly concentrate on creating awareness. However, this particular conference went deeper, exploring integral facets of mental health in the workplace, strategies to combat burnout and offered a unique perspective throughout its entirety. It was not confined to past experiences but extended to the contemporary challenges faced by law enforcement professionals.
Mental Health Sees No Gender or Race
The influence of mental health transcends all facets of society and the Law Enforcement Summit brought together therapists, law enforcement professionals, advocates and survivors of trauma. The convergence of diverse careers and genders at this event was nothing short of extraordinary!
With an illustrious lineup of speakers it marks a significant step towards, fostering an environment where individuals, regardless of their gender, feel comfortable seeking help without the spectre of discrimination looming overhead. Support and awareness manifest in various forms, but the common thread is that they are now receiving increased attention and visibility.
On the Psychological Skills Inventory for Law Enforcement (PSI-LE) world class speakers explored the Initial Validation and Lessons Learned from the Implementation and Assessment of an Officer Readiness Program:
William Land, Ph.D., Associate Professor in the College for Health, Community, and Policy, Department of Kinesiology, University of Texas-San Antonio (UTSA) Brandi Burque, Ph.D., Co-Founder Human Performance & Readiness Institute, San Antonio Police Department Deloria Wilson, Ph.D., Co-Founder, Human Performance & Readiness Institute Cliff Burns, Co-Founder Human Performance & Readiness Institute, San Antonio Police Department
On the Implementation of a Successful Mental Health and Wellness Program the following speakers gave a compelling account on the critical components of a successful program, the steps taken when creating a peer team, evaluating the success of the program to ensure adaptations are made when needed:
Jennifer Alicea, Lieutenant, Internal Wellness Center, Columbus Division of Police Chuck Albers, Sergeant, Internal Wellness Center, Columbus Police Department Rob Polta, Officer, Internal Wellness Center, Columbus Police Department
Frank Ray, a retired police officer with a decade of service, stands as a remarkable example of the intersection between law enforcement, the entertainment industry and the Latin community. Through the establishment of First Responders Mental Clarity (FRAY), he made the conscious decision to retire from law enforcement while venturing into the world of entertainment. Nevertheless, he never abandoned the career he left behind. His efforts have extended to providing resources, educational materials, and even taking FRAY to the halls of political power.
Frank Ray,”the Artist to Watch”( Rolling Stone) Advocating for Mental Health Awareness
Frank Ray is a remarkable figure in the world of music—a former police officer, a chart-topping sensation in Texas and a bilingual recording artist who is opening doors for a contemporary Latino Country movement. Frank Ray’s music is often described as “easygoing contemporary Country with pop-soul hooks and a dash of Southwestern spice” by Rolling Stone.
His unique sound is a harmonious blend, drawing inspiration from a diverse array of sources, including ’90s Texas Country, Latin rhythms, R&B, and Pop. As an entertainer, Frank delivers electrifying, high-energy performances that cater to a wide range of musical tastes. With his cross-cultural appeal and a panorama of influences, the Los Angeles Times rightfully recognizes Ray as someone who is “looking to stretch Country music’s cultural boundaries.”
In just a brief span of three years since dedicating himself to his musical career full-time, Frank Ray has achieved remarkable success. He boasts two No. 1 singles and three Top ten singles on Texas Country Radio. Additionally, he has established himself as a prolific songwriter and secured the acclaimed producer Frank Rogers to work on his projects. His journey reached a significant milestone with the signing of a record deal with BBR Music Group/Stoney Creek Records, a testament to his rising star.
Notably, Rolling Stone has honoured him as an “Artist to Watch,” and Frank Ray has graced the screens of television audiences through his appearances on USA Network’s Real Country.
His profile has been featured in prestigious publications such as the Los Angeles Times and on NBC’s TODAY.
Frank Ray’s music has carried him across the nation, where he has shared stages with some of the biggest names in the industry, including Luke Combs, Kane Brown, Brett Eldredge, Luke Bryan, Kip Moore, LANCO, Old Dominion, Hunter Hayes, and more. Following the release of his latest EP, “Getcha Some,” and just in time for the holiday season, this versatile entertainer is spreading the joy of the holidays with his newest song, “Feliz Navidad,” which is now available for all to enjoy.
How frequently do we hear a voice that holds relevance not only for the Latin community but represents millions of people who are fighting mental health in silence?