GENERIC: jail yard fence gate

The Michigan Department of Corrections is trying to address concerns about stress and suicide among corrections officers.

The Detroit Free Press reports that the agency's director, Heidi Washington, recently announced to a Senate committee that the department hired a licensed mental health professional to serve as its employee wellness program manager.

Washington told the senators that corrections officers work in a highly volatile environment. She said the department wants to increase training to manage stress and reduce the stigma associated with asking for help.

Carry Johnson is an officer at the Cotton Correctional Facility near Jackson. She says she's lost four colleagues to suicide in the last two years.

Johnson says the wellness program needs officer buy-in to work, which is made difficult by mandatory overtime and how discipline is handled.

Copyright 2019 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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