Mental Health Awareness Month Spotlight: Dr. David Englert

Dave Englert

Dr. Dave Englert, pictured far right

From serving on the frontlines during the devastating events of 9/11 to implementing a mental decompression program for returning military personnel, Dr. David Englert (Minnesota State University-Mankato, ‘92) has forged a path for himself and others in the realm of mental health and resilience.

Following his undergraduate career at Minnesota State University, Englert received a helpful scholarship from Lambda Chi Alpha, which aided him in obtaining his PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Mississippi.

It was then that Englert made the choice to enter into the Air Force. For the next 17 years, he assisted in some of the most important jobs, such as recovering those lost in the horrifying events of 9/11 and then with the Air Force’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI).

During his tenure with the OSI, Englert began to realize that the men and women of the military were experiencing an incredibly difficult time returning from the frontlines to civilian life.

Armed with his psychology background, Englert devised a program to bring back OSI agents to a singular place when returning from combat deployments. This allowed them to work through what they had experienced and prepare them to be more successful when they returned to their pre deployment roles

Englert’s program was so successful that it became the model for all of the Air Force, as well as US law agencies that were sending people into active duty.

Englert retired from the military in 2015 having filled an incredibly important need, but that would not be the end of his story.

Shortly after moving to Charlotte, North Carolina in his retirement, the Charlotte Police Department (CPD) contacted Englert about an intriguing opportunity to serve as a psychologist for the force. Unsure if he wanted to take on such a grueling new project, Englert weighed his options. After much deliberation, Englert took the position, believing he could start to break down the stigma around mental health within the police force.

Now into his sixth year, Englert has once again flipped the script when it comes to mental health, with the creation of a wellness resiliency program for the staff, the first of its kind.

In it, Englert takes each of the officers through a series of discussions that covers everything from finances to relationships to allow the staff a place to work through what might be affecting them outside of the job.

The program has been received incredibly well and allowed staff to explore what it means to take care of themselves both physically and mentally. It was recently recognized nationally as the best wellness program for law enforcement.

Englert looks forward to finding more ways to help decrease the stigma of mental health and advocate for the importance of resilience.

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