Dozens of employees with the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office learned about good vs. bad stress and practices for healthy management

Every occupation comes with a unique set of demands that can, at times, be stressful. Learning to manage this stress is necessary to fulfill one’s duties and excel in their career. The way to deal with stress is not by simply ignoring it, which can lead to health complications — both physical and mental.

Law enforcement is among one of the most stressful careers. With the physical demands, shifting schedules, exposure to suffering and violence and overall day to day unpredictability, studies show up to 30% of peace officers experience symptoms of PTSD on a regular basis.

Beyond caring for the patients at its four acute care hospitals, behavioral hospital, freestanding emergency departments and multispecialty clinics, South Texas Health System cares for the health and wellbeing of the entire community. One significant way this is accomplished is through education.

STHS Behavioral School Based Therapist Heidi Ruiz, MA, LPC recently visited the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office to speak with deputies, investigators and administrative workers over effective stress management as part of the county’s Wellness program, which strives to improve the quality of life for its employees by promoting a healthy lifestyle.

“Stress isn’t all bad; it helps keep us on our toes and motivated to work,” Ruiz said. “It inspires us and helps make us stronger, more agile individuals. However, negative stress comes from the things that put high demands on us.

“We need balance and the most important thing in dealing with stress is to listen to our body, acknowledge the stress and figure out how to deal with it properly through routines and taking care of ourselves from the inside out.”

During the hour-long interactive sessions with more than 30 county employees in attendance, Ruiz shared the important roles exercise, a nutritious diet and sleep play in one’s health and ability to cope with stress and answered questions regarding best practices to deal with situational stressors. 

STHS Behavioral offers inpatient, outpatient and specialty programs for individuals from the ages of 3 and up, as well as 24/7 free, confidential assessments. Additionally, STHS provides educational trainings and presentations to schools, companies and organizations interested in learning about mental health-related issues. To learn more about these services or request a mental health training, visit STHS Behavioral or call 956-388-1300.

About South Texas Health System 

South Texas Health System is a multi-hospital health care system serving patients throughout the Rio Grande Valley. The system includes four hospital campuses with specialties in pediatrics, heart and vascular services, maternity and women’s health and trauma services. Treatment for behavioral health needs and addictive disorders is also provided through the system’s South Texas Health System Behavioral Health campus location. South Texas Health System is affiliated with the South Texas Clinical Partners ACO, Prominence Health Plan, and Cornerstone Regional Hospital. The system operates an advanced Level II Trauma Center at South Texas Health System McAllen, the first and only pediatric ER at South Texas Health System Children’s, a specialized cardiac ER at South Texas Health System Heart, and six freestanding emergency rooms located in and around Weslaco, Mission, Edinburg, McAllen and Alamo. For more information on the system, please visit

Physicians are independent practitioners who are not employees or agents of South Texas Health System. The hospital shall not be liable for actions or treatments provided by physicians.