ARIZONA NEWS

Gilbert police using meditation room as part of wellness program

Aug 13, 2019, 4:15 AM | Updated: 4:13 pm

PHOENIX — The Gilbert Police Department is hoping a new wellness program will help its officers improve their mental health.

The peer support program utilizes a meditation room operated by Ed Morales, a 16-year Gilbert police veteran and former Marine, in addition to heart rate variability tools and a therapy dog.

“I think what’s different here in Gilbert is we’re looking at providing people with training and skills up front to manage thoughts and emotions associated with trauma,” Morales said in a Gilbert police video.

Morales, the department’s peer support and wellness coordinator, took ownership of the program following his own battles with mental health.

He turned to yoga and meditation to deal with stress from a career that was “catching up with him.”

Morales said he was dealing with intense pressure and wasn’t sleeping much.

“Eventually, I felt my body starting to break down,” he said in a press release.

The new program hopes to give officers more resilience in dealing with the everyday struggles of the job.

“My goal was to try to find a way to take the principles of what I learned and be able to share them with other people in order to manage those same things I dealt with,” Morales said.

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Gilbert police using meditation room as part of wellness program