CHICAGO - Law enforcment in Chicago and Cook County are receiving a new type of support, which is designed to improve their mental health and repair relationships with the community.
It's a tense, trying time for local police with protests, high levels of violence and frayed ties with the public.
"Law enforcement officers are up against challenges that are unprecedented. Chicago police officers struggle with several things from alcohol addiction, family trauma that ends in divorce, as well as mental health that all too often ends in suicide," said Jeffrey Salvetti, a retired police officer.
A group of business leaders with links to law enforcement launched Bank the Blue, which is a nonprofit organization where officers can get mental health services, plus training and programs aimed at repairing the relationship between police and the people they serve.
“The mission of Bank the Blue is in short to help police officers so they can better help the community. It is to heal the fractured relationship between police community and the communities in which they serve . It's a lofty goal we recognize that - we accept the challenge,” said Dan Herbert, Bank the Blue founder.
There are programs to help officers at their departments, but one psychologist with Bank the Blue says officers are more willing to open up away from work.
“Sometimes they need to walk away from the police department and come somewhere that doesn't feel like a part of the institution or it doesn't feel clinical. So we provide a very comfortable setting for them,” said clinical psychologist, Dr. Robin Krollis.
The Bank the Blue team says this is a ground breaking plan and they hope it could become a national model.