By Associated Press - Saturday, December 21, 2019

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Officials on Maui have launched a wellness mobile app for police officers to help them deal with the stress of the job.

The Maui News reported Friday that the Maui Police Department is the first in the state to try out the technology that offers information on mental health issues and contains contacts for mental health providers, such as psychologists and licensed clinical social workers. The app also has contact numbers for police officers and police chaplains who can provide peer support.

“Officers witness trauma on a daily basis, and they are carrying that burden,” said Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu, who has known officers who have committed suicide. “MPD wants to support our officers and families by providing them with the tools to help them cope with the daily challenges.”

The app helps department employees seek help anonymously without any stigma, Faaumu added.

There is also access to the Hawaii Crisis Line that offers 24-hour help to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis.

Faaumu said that nationwide, the deaths of police officers by suicide outpaces the number of deaths from the line of duty. There has not been an officer suicide on Maui in the last five years.

The app has quizzes that people can take to gauge their level of depression or evaluate how much they drink, for example. There is also information on finances and parenting, along with information on meditation, physical fitness and soothing sleep sounds.

Prince said the optional app is anonymous, so police will not know who downloads or uses it.

The app is limited to officers, their families and police department staff.

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