NewsRegion C Palm Beach County


400 PBSO deputies and staff served Thanksgiving dinner and mental health info

Posted at 6:33 PM, Nov 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-25 18:33:15-05

How do you address mental health in law enforcement? One Palm Beach County deputy sheriff says normalize it and make it a part of Thanksgiving tradition.

On the basketball court at Lake Lytal Park is where you’ll find a group of friends traditionally spending their Thanksgiving.

”Most of the time they got work — they can’t come out and have a fun and play a little basketball,” said John Dieujuse. “We all go to the same church — New Church of Nazarene and this is what we do about every year.”

And just a few blocks away there’s visible law enforcement with lights flashing: Public safety is a very real part of Thanksgiving Day tradition.

”In law enforcement the challenge is being able to completely share and be open and honest with how you’re feeling without being branded,” said Cheryl Melvin, PBSO sheriff’s deputy and Sincere 2000 founder.

Melvin’s foundation raises awareness about mental health and suicide prevention. It’s named in honor of Melvin’s son, Sincere who died by suicide in 2018. To learn more, click here.

”You know every Thanksgiving you get around the table we talk about the things we’re thankful for, but the one thing we always tend to forget is our mental health,” said Melvin. “We all deal with it.”

For the first time on Nov. 25, over 400 PBSO deputies and staff on duty received books and pamphlets to deal with depression, suicide prevention and the internal and external stresses of law enforcement.

”Sometime’s it’s not medicine. Sometimes it’s just a conversation and so that’s what we’re trying to raise awareness on,” said Unique Melvin, Sincere 2000 cofounder. “This is bigger than just Thanksgiving. This is global. This is something that has to be recognized in different parts of the world. all over the world.”

The foundation also teamed with Big Heart Brigade. Volunteers prepared a full traditional Thanksgiving dinner for hundreds making it a day to address mind, body and soul.

”Without these men and women keeping our community safe — keeping us safe, I wouldn’t want to imagine life without them.,” said Chuck Dettman, Big Heart Brigade secretary/treasurer. “Who in our community needs help and that’s what Big Heart is all about.”

The Melvin’s want to take their message into area schools, churches and job sites to better normalize mental health and further break stigma. To learn more, click here.

To learn more about the efforts of Big Hear Brigade, click here or to support their mission text Turkey2021 to 202-858-1233.