Improving the Mental Health and Well-Being of Correctional Officers through Mental Health First Aid Training

Rachel Flumo, Pamela Valera, Sarah Malarkey, Sebastian Acevedo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study aimed to understand the perspectives of correctional officers participating in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) training. A total of 54 correctional officers from two State Department of Corrections participated in the study. Correctional officers completed two focus group meetings. The focus group meetings were analyzed using narrative analysis. The themes of the focus group meetings were (1) the emotional toll of working in the criminal justice system, (2) correctional officers managing poor mental health, (3) barriers to mental health-seeking behaviors, (4) benefits and facilitators to MHFA, and (5) recommendations for future MHFA training. In summary, correctional officers emphasized the need for additional mental health resources to cope with the unpredictable and challenging work environment. State Departments of Corrections should prioritize the mental health of correctional officers and work toward destigmatizing mental health across these settings by implementing MHFA for all correctional professionals.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalJournal of Police and Criminal Psychology
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Law


  • Correctional officer
  • Mental health
  • Mental health First Aid
  • Mental health stigma
  • Workforce development

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