Former Police Officer Tackles Mental Health


A former DPD police officer has started providing mental health services to current police officers | Image by the Dallas Police Department

A recently retired police officer is working to address mental health in law enforcement officers.

Diana Mathis-Thornton was a long-standing officer in the Dallas Police Department (DPD), having patrolled the southeastern portion of Dallas for over 20 years. Alongside serving the City of Dallas, Mathis-Thornton also took up the responsibility of caring for the mental wellness of her fellow officers.

“I coordinate, advise, train and provide mental health guidance for approximately 100 peer supporters and check point officers both sworn and civilian of all ranks,” said Mathis-Thornton, according to NBC DFW. “Along with my peer supporters and check point officers, I provide confidential peer support assistance to all employees of the Dallas Police Department,” she continued.

The DPD started its wellness unit in July 2022 in order to help any struggling officers with the stresses brought on by their position, according to WFAA. Mathis-Thornton aided in the launch of that program.

Mathis-Thornton called her position within this unit a “second calling.”

“I didn’t realize that counseling can be done without a counseling license. I was just being who I was,” said Mathis-Thornton, according to NBC DFW.

She answered calls from several officers who asked for help and operated as a peer support coordinator.

Mathis-Thornton retired from her role in the DPD on February 28 but intends to continue helping officers as a licensed therapist.

“They will be my clients, and I can actually work with them at a deeper level to help them find wellness and deal with problems and issues,” said Mathis-Thornton, according to NBC DFW.

The DPD is not the only department that appears to have officers who require support.

Garland Police Department announced that Lieutenant Chris Carker, a 16-year veteran of the force, took his own life in December 2022, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

According to a 2020 study found on the National Library of Medicine website, researchers sought to observe the prevalence of mental illness in law enforcement officers. Of the 434 police officers observed in the study, “12% had a lifetime mental health diagnosis and 26% reported current symptoms of mental illness.”

Moreover, 17% of the officers sought out mental health care services, and others expressed interest in services if assurances such as confidentiality were met.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing mental health-related distress, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988. You can also chat online by clicking here.

For more information, visit the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline website: 988lifeline.org.

If you enjoyed this article, please support us today!

Formed in 2021, we provide fact-based, non-partisan news. The Dallas Express is a non-profit organization funded by charitable support and advertising.

Please join us on the important journey to make Dallas a better place!

We welcome and appreciate comments on The Dallas Express as part of a healthy dialogue. We do ask that you be kind. Kind to each other and to everyone else in your comments. For more information, please refer to our Complete Comment Moderation Policy.

Subscribe to Comments
Notify of

1 Comment
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
23 days ago

Well isn’t this just special bc they’re cops they truly deserve help for their mental health issues and get to be cops.
People like me who’ve suffered their entire lives with mental illness get discrimination of all kinds including legal discrimination by example joining the force due to mental illness. And I receive less than subpar concern and treatment bc imjust some mental health care.