Employee Wellness
Clinical Team

The Employee Wellness Clinical Team is responsible for providing access to psychological services, including consultation, brief intervention, and referral services, needed by CMPD employees. Services are intended to improve the health and wellness of employees and the overall health of CMPD through direct service, outreach, and education.

Employees who receive services will be given the fullest level of confidentiality, privacy, and privilege that federal and state laws afford.

If you are interested in helping to facilitate a referral for one of your employees, have the employee complete the Consent for Outreach form​​ and send it to us. The Wellness team will be more than happy to contact them directly.

To reach the Employee Wellness Clinical Team, you can leave a voicemail with your first name and phone number at 704-432-6057 or send an email to officeofwellness@cmpd.org.

Our Staff

Ashley Higgins, LCMHC, LCAS

Behavioral Health Specialist Senior

Ashley is a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor (LCMHC) and Licensed Clinical Addiction Specialist (LCAS) who has served in various capacities, including inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, addiction intensive treatment, and outpatient therapy. Prior to joining CMPD Ashley spent four years proudly serving as an embedded therapist for the North Carolina National Guard, providing invaluable individual mental health support to service members and their families. Additionally, she has facilitated critical incident debriefings, offered crisis intervention, and led pre/post deployment support groups.

Shannon Slauson, LMFT

Behavioral Health Specialist

Christina Poncia

Wellness Specialist

Consultation Services

Consultations are offered by our clinical staff to address behavioral, emotional, and psychological concerns of sworn and non-sworn staff. In the consultation, the clinical team will work with you to identify issues, and provide tailored recommendations and interventions, aiming to improve mental well-being. This could include education, coping strategies, and potential follow-up consultations. The goal is to provide support and practical tools to enhance overall quality of life.

Consultations can be done over the phone, through telehealth, or in-person. To schedule a consultation, call the Clinical Wellness Team at 704-432-6057 or send us an email at officeofwellness@cmpd.org

For more information on signs and symptoms of mental health difficulties specific to first responders, will be available soon.

Assessment and Referral Services

A behavioral health assessment by the Clinical Wellness Team involves gathering detailed information about a person’s history, current challenges, symptoms, and strengths. This is a crucial step in connecting employees with the right resources. It helps us match individuals to appropriate treatments, therapies, and support services based on their specific needs and circumstances. Once an assessment has been completed the Clinical Wellness Team, we will guide employees toward appropriate resources and treatment options based on the findings of the assessment. Recommendations could include counseling services, support groups, medical treatments, or other forms of intervention.

Once referrals resources have been identified the Clinical Wellness Team will work together with the employee to get connected to those resources and even provide follow-up to confirm that the resources provided are a good fit.

To schedule an assessment, call the Clinical Wellness Team at 704-432-6057 or send us an email at officeofwellness@cmpd.org

Post Critical Incident Check-ups

Even in post critical incident consultations, the same level of confidentiality is given to the employee, with one exception – the chain of command will be notified of attendance. They will only be notified of attendance. No information, other than attendance, no matter how detailed or vague, will be conveyed to the chain of command without the consent of the employee who has been mandated.

Exceptions to this are the same as for all therapist interactions in the United States, child abuse, elder abuse, and imminent threat of danger to self or others require mandatory reporting. If these cases arise, we will take steps to mitigate any risks to you or others, such as arranging for an evaluation in a psychiatric hospital.

More Information
To ask a question or schedule an appointment with the Office of Employee Wellness, please call 704-432-6057.

Downloadable documents for your view:


CMPD employees can arrange to have Employee Wellness Clinical staff discuss their role within CMPD and help with questions. CMPD employees can also arrange to have the clinical team provide educational briefs on a variety of topics to help improve well-being and facilitate resilience. Examples of topics include:

  1. Referral Workshops (local resources such as social services, AA meetings, etc.)
    b. Mental Health Conditions (i.e., depression, anxiety, PTSD symptom recognition)
    c. Communication Skills
    d. Self-care
    e. Suicide prevention
    f. Alcohol and substance abuse
    g. Relationship issues
    h. Domestic Violence
    i. Military support
    j. Grief management
    k. Sleep Hygiene.

If you are interested in having the Employee Wellness Clinical Team provide a briefing for your employees, complete the Briefing Request form.

Either way, the Office of Employee Wellness staff will routinely visit in person with divisions and units in general to promote and facilitate health and wellness strategies for our employees.


Communications between an individual receiving professional clinical services and a therapist are confidential. This means that most anything shared can’t be repeated by the therapist to others without the client’s authorization. This also includes misconduct. Therapist confidentiality is determined by professional ethics, State and Federal law, and regulation.

There are a few situations in which a therapist either may, or must, break confidentiality without the client’s permission. These include when the therapist believes there is: a suspicion of child, elder, or dependent adult abuse; the client is actively suicidal and likely to harm themselves; or when a client threatens serious harm or is actively homicidal and has a plan and identifiable target.

More Information
To ask a question or schedule an appointment with the Employee Wellness Clinical Team, please 704-432-6057.

When to Reach Out

Mental health is our emotional and social well-being, influencing how we think, feel, and act. As first responders, we face various challenges that can impact our mental health, such as stress, trauma, and losses. It’s crucial to recognize the signs of poor mental health and seek help when needed. Early identification and treatment can make a significant difference in managing conditions like anxiety and depression. Remember, taking care of your mental health is essential for your well-being and effectiveness at work and in your personal life. Reach out for support if you’re struggling.

Recognizing Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues for First Responders

  1. Personality Changes:If you notice someone acting noticeably different from their usual self or expressing feelings that seem out of character, take it as a warning sign.
  2. Unusual Emotions:Be attentive to severe and persistent shifts in emotions like anxiety, anger, or moodiness, as they can indicate underlying mental health issues.
  3. Social Withdrawal:When individuals start isolating themselves, canceling social plans, or spending excessive time alone, it might be a serious indicator of emotional or mental health problems.
  4. Neglecting Self-Care and Risky Behaviors:People experiencing mental health issues may disregard their own well-being and engage in risky behaviors like substance abuse. Additionally, a decline in personal hygiene or appearance may suggest a mental health concern.
  5. Feelings of Hopelessness:Mental health difficulties can lead to a sense of hopelessness and feeling overwhelmed, making it important to intervene and offer support.

As first responders, being vigilant about these warning signs can help us support our colleagues and ourselves in times of emotional or mental health challenges. Encouraging open conversations and seeking professional help when needed can make a significant difference in maintaining overall well-being.

More Information

To ask a question or schedule an appointment with the Employee Wellness Clinical Team, please call 704-432-6057.