The Mendocino Beacon

MCHFoundat­ion supports trauma counseling program for police department


The Mendocino Coast Healthcare Foundation (MCHFoundat­ion) is partnering with the Fort Bragg Police Department and local psychologi­st, Dr. Kianna Zielesch, to implement Public Safety Mind Health, a new Trauma Counseling Program for all police department employees.

The program, funded by a grant from MCHFoundat­ion, is a giant step forward in helping to eliminate the stigma around mental health, which is especially prevalent in the public safety profession. The funding will connect each police department staff member with Dr. Zielesch, who specialize­s in first responder trauma, for two private Mind Health Checkups per year—one every six months.

“The checkup just makes sure everything is going well and provides the opportunit­y for staff to see a therapist without requiring them to call, which can be difficult,” said Neil Cervenka, Fort Bragg Chief of Police. “A key component of this program is confidenti­ality as a way of defeating the stigma of mental health in my profession.”

The program is the first of its kind on the Mendocino Coast. The goal is to increase career longevity, and—most importantl­y— reduce police suicide. At the end of the year, participan­ts will be asked to fill out a brief, anonymous survey, giving them an opportunit­y to reflect on the impact of their checkups.

MCHFoundat­ion is proud to step up in support of this important initiative. “Our work revolves around the goal of creating a healthier Mendocino Coast, and I can't think of a better way to do that than by taking care of the dedicated men and women keeping us safe,” said Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, MCHFoundat­ion Executive Director. “Our generous donors help make grants like this possible. It is their ongoing support of our Immediate Needs Fund that enables MCHFoundat­ion to act quickly and offer resources where needed most.”

Employees will begin their Mind Health Checkups early this year. Should it be determined that a staff member requires additional sessions beyond the two that are covered, his or her insurance will take effect. If the pilot program proves successful, it could be rolled out on a broader scale for other city staff and public safety roles.

To learn more or discuss partnershi­p opportunit­ies, please reach out to Mary Kate McKenna, CFRE, Executive Director, at MaryKate@MCHFoundat­

The goal is to increase career longevity, and—most importantl­y— reduce police suicide.

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