Creating a Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) is essential in organizations and law enforcement agencies because it is vital in overseeing the overall mental health. Especially for law enforcement agencies, the BSU can assist greatly in the profiling process. Profiling is the method “of inferring the personality characteristics of individuals responsible for committing criminal acts” (Turvey 2002, p. 1). Law enforcers will require a unit that will conduct a psychological assessment of characteristics based on information collected at crime scenes that is used to develop the profile of the victim and the perpetrator.
However, in regular organizations, profiling can also be applied to prevent serious incidents from disrupting the regular operations of organizations. In the case of regular organizations, the BSU can be instrumental to identify specific mental health risk factors in work situations. Behavioral science can be a proactive method that can identify serious unrecognized problems may exist in the following areas of job design and conditions of work like: 1. Work load and pace.
The critical factor here appears to be the degree of control the worker has over the pace of work, rather than output demand. Machine-paced assembly work may be particularly hazardous to mental health. 2. Work schedule. Rotating shifts and night work have been associated with elevated risk for psychological difficulties. 3. Role stressors. Role ambiguity (such as uncertainty about who has responsibility for what), said to be common in many work situations, has a negative impact on mental and physical health, as does role conflict (incompatible role demands). 4. Career security factors.
Feelings of insecurity related to issues such as job future or obsolescence, career development, and encouragement of early retirement adversely affect mental and physical health. 5. Interpersonal relations. Poor or unsupportive relationships among work colleagues significantly increase the risk of untoward psychological reactions. 6. Job content. Poor mental health has been associated with work assignments involving fragmented, narrow, unvarying tasks that allow for little creativity and give the worker little sense of having contributed to the ultimate product (Butcher et al.
, 2007). Many corporations have long recognized the importance of worker mental health and of enhancing mental-health-promoting factors in the workplace, yet only recently have many of them acted on this knowledge. At present, many companies have expanded their “obligations” to employees to include numerous psychological services like establishing a Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) that could implement employee assistance programs (EAPs) that are means through which larger corporations can actively provide mental health services to employees and their family members.
In general, employers have been slower to deal with issues of job design and work environment as additional means of maximizing worker mental health. In this regard, organizations need mental health professionals to oversee the mental health of its people via the BSU. People at the BSU are expected not only to cure mental health problems but also to prevent them, or at least to reduce their effects to the organization or community as a whole. Butcher et al.
(2007) reminded that prevention of mental health problems can be “viewed as focusing on three levels: (1) universal interventions, which attempt to reduce the long-term consequences of having had a disorder; (2) selective interventions, which are aimed at reducing the possibility of disorder and fostering positive mental health efforts in subpopulations that are considered at special risk; and (3) indicated interventions, which attempt to reduce the impact or duration of a problem that has already occurred”.
Thus, establishing a BSU can be a proactive program to address mental health problems to have an extreme effect on the greater good of everyone and the productivity of the organization as a whole. Components and Requirements in Creating the BSU The Behavioral Science Unit (BSU) shall be divided into four important components: 1. ) Employee Assistance Program (EAP) – Typically, EAP can involve themselves in helping all employees in need of assistance to in-house counselors that may help them with regards to their working conditions. The BSU can draft an EAP guideline for the company when and where they could obtain the EAP services.
The EAP can also train regular supervisors about the policy guidance in the type of help they can offer their subordinates. Furthermore, proactive organizations recognize that EAPs must meet the needs of a diverse population. Ideally, the company’s EAP reflects the culture, language, and racial makeup of its workforce. 2). Peer Support Program (PSP) – In times when a worker cannot express their problems to a superior, the peer support program (PSP) can be instrumental in addressing the problem at their level. A peer can be an effective avenue where people can openly discuss their problems.
When organizations have sufficient training regarding PSP, workers can directly report on what their peers need to the EAP unit so that the problem can be addressed. Also, the PSP can conduct open forums where workers can directly address their problems to their superiors without hesitation. 3. ) Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) – In case of emergencies, the Critical Incident Response Team (CIRT) can assist in addressing the psycho-social aspects of any incident that occurs. The BSU can provide regulatory measures in preventing the untoward events from happening again. 4.
) Stress Unit (SU) – In this program of the BSU, workers’ mental health conditions will be studied carefully so that we could identify major factors that cause stress among employees. The SU can then suggest recommendations to reduce, if not eliminate, these stressors so that employees’ sound mental health is maintained throughout the organization. Aside from the four components, the establishment of the BSU will require: 1. ) Business Plan – This will explain the overall relevance of the project: the mission, the vision, financial costs, personnel needs and the benefits of having this unit in the organization.
2. ) Office – This is the location where the BSU can be situated in the company premises. This is where the operations and transactions of the BSU can take place. 3. ) Clinic – This is where employees will be diagnosed or treated by psychologists regarding their problems. The clinic should appear private and hospitable enough so that employees will be comfortable in voicing out their thoughts to the psychologists. 4. ) Personnel – These are the people that will embody the BSU. It will be composed of psychologists and behavioral science experts who will meet the goals of establishing the BSU.
With regards to training needs, the BSU should be educated well with regards to behavioral science and the overall dynamics of the organization. The BSU can work hand-in-hand with the human resource department in order to do their job effectively. The BSU should be trained in the areas of employee assistance, peer support and post-critical incident debriefings of the organizational members. The BSU can also provide individual therapy, group therapy and assessment depending on a case-to-case basis. Structure The BSU can be structured as follows: 1.
Consultants – The BSU can have at least three consultants that are experts in three areas: Human Resource, Behavioral Science and Mental Health. The consultants can be hired on a contract basis until the BSU can already stand on its own as an independent unit of the organization. 2. Unit Leader – The person-in-charge of the overall operations of the BSU. The company can hire someone from the human resource department to head the BSU. 3. In-House Psychologists – These psychologists can be hired also in a contract basis. 4. Regular Staff – These people will do all the necessary office work that needs to be done with regards to the BSU.
The company can hire regular and contractual employees to accomplish the BSU tasks. Ethical Issues Confidentiality is the key to attain the goals and mission of the BSU. When the goals of the BSU are investigative; they are interested only in the objective investigation of fact. They are not interested in an offender’s well-being or mental health, but rather are interested in protecting the company, society, and future victims by virtue of serving justice. This is a potential ethical conflict, then for psychologists who wish to become involved in the BSU during the investigative phase of a case.
They must be willing to set aside their treatment-oriented goals and their tools for promoting a strong positive regard for the offender and work to serve justice. They must set aside their traditional roles as healers and advocates, and work to help resolve the case in the interest of the company. This is by no means an impossible conflict to resolve. However, it is one that must be addressed up front, and in a straightforward manner to prevent it from affecting the achievement of investigative and psychological goals. The BSU will try to cater all types of employees and would not discriminate any race, religion or creed.
Moreover, the BSU will try to cater all the DSM-IV-TR, which are defined as personality disorder as “an enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior or impairment” (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, p. 685). Conclusion The BSU’s main goal is to oversee the mental health of employees of in the organization. We can encourage people to use our services when they are relieved from unnecessary stress and unwanted conflicts when BSU devises procedures that can proactively solve these untoward incidences from affecting the working environment.
We all know that a happy worker is a productive worker. With this statement, the BSU can untangle mental health issues of the workers to keep them mentally sound while in the workplace. Workers aware of the BSU can find many ways to seek the help of BSU if they are familiar with national and international resources and programs and if they invest the effort necessary to learn about their community’s special needs and problems.
Whatever people’s roles in life—student, teacher, police officer, lawyer, homemaker, business executive, or trade unionist—our interests are directly at stake, for although the mental health of a nation may be manifested in many ways—in its purposes, courage, moral responsibility, scientific and cultural achievements, and quality of daily life—its health and resources derive ultimately from the individuals within it. In a participatory democracy, it is they who plan and implement the nation’s goals.
Thus, all preventive measures that BSU may recommend for them are often effective, universal and long-range approach to the solution of both individual and group mental health problems they can utilize in all aspects of their lives. References American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (4th ed. , Text Revision). Washington, DC: APA. Butcher, J. N. , Mineka, S. & Hooley J. M. (2007). Chapter 18: Contemporary and Legal Issues in Abnormal Psychology, Abnormal Psychology, 13th ed. Boston: Allyn & Bacon, Inc. Turvey, B. (2002). Criminal Profiling, 2nd ed. San Diego: Academic Press.