Fort Meade’s new resiliency center continues the trend of wellness programs seen for law enforcement in Anne Arundel, Charles, and Baltimore City in an effort to address the specific needs of these employees and their families.
A ribbon cutting is scheduled November 17, 2022, for the opening of Fort Meade’s new $5.1M Education and Resiliency Center and will be a hub for wellness and mental health services for individuals serving on the base. Similar to law enforcement officers, the work of military and intelligence community members brings with it unique stressors, long hours, shifting schedules, and exposure to events of extreme malice and tragedy. This climate increases the incidence of sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders to name a few associated ailments.
The stigma associated with mental health services is still a driving factor for why these communities are reluctant to get help. Due to fear of losing consideration for promotions, recognition and clearances many individuals don’t see an avenue to access the the support they need. In response, counties like Anne Arundel, Charles, and Baltimore City have been making efforts to get more officers engaged in wellness services. All three have begun offering programs to their officers and families in the last three years.
According to the Fort Meade Alliance, a community group that partnered with Fort Meade on the project, Carroll County Commissioner Ed Rothstein played a role in bringing the severity of these circumstance to light. Commissioner Rothstein shared during a roundtable that service members are, “often reluctant to recognize or address behavioral health issues while they are still in uniform and then struggle with issues long after their service ends. Rothstein continued, “Veterans are still committing suicide at incredible rates, anywhere from 20 to 22 a day. We’re never going to stop that, but we have to do our best to minimize it.”