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New study to examine impact of Mental Health First Aid on correctional officer emotional intelligence

Corrections officers are needed to respond to survey to assess their ability to recognize and respond to signs of mental health challenges or crises

Rikers Island

Todd Maisel

By Corrections1 Staff

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A research study led by Lleidy I. De Leon, LCSW, a Doctor of Social Work student at Southern Connecticut State University, will shed light on the role of Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) in enhancing the emotional intelligence of correctional officers.

Lleidy De Leon is a former correctional officer with 20 years of experience and aims to equip correctional officers with the tools to navigate mental health issues effectively and improve their emotional intelligence.

The research is conducted under the guidance of Dr. Karen D’Angelo, who is a professor at Southern Connecticut State University.

MHFA is a widely recognized program designed to provide individuals with the skills to recognize and respond to signs of mental health challenges or crises. It is a vital resource for equipping individuals with the knowledge to identify and assist those experiencing mental health emergencies, ultimately fostering a more compassionate and empathetic approach.

Lleidy I. De Leon, LCSW, the student researcher spearheading this study for her dissertation, articulated her motivation, saying, “I am doing this research because I am now a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, who sees the importance of correctional officers having the tools to expand their knowledge about mental health issues, recognize mental health emergencies, and the hopes are that by that knowledge, their emotional intelligence increases. It is my way of giving back to the Department of Corrections in Conn.”

Corrections1 readers can contribute to this vital research by sharing and promoting the study for a wider reach. Following her graduation, the researcher intends to explore opportunities to expand the pilot study nationwide, potentially benefiting Correctional Officers across the country.

Once the data becomes available, Lleidy I. De Leon, LCSW, will share the findings with Corrections1. Readers can anticipate comprehensive insights into how MHFA impacts the emotional intelligence of correctional officers and how this knowledge can improve their professional and personal lives.

To access the study, click here.

Contact Lleidy I. De Leon, LCSW, via email at

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