The storming of the U.S. Capitol is taking a serious toll on the undermanned police officers who were on the front lines ... so their mental health is now a top priority.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ ... counseling services provided by the Capitol Police have been in high demand over the past week, as officers are reeling and grieving after the violence that took place on January 6.
As you know, the riots resulted in 5 deaths ... including Officer Brian D. Sicknick, who was killed by rioters, and officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide days later.
We're told Capitol PD brass is periodically encouraging the rank and file to utilize their Employee Assistance Program ... and welcoming administrative leave, if needed.
The program includes on-site, confidential counselors who can help employees cope with a wide range of issues. It's been in place for decades, and was a huge help to officers after 9/11.
Our sources say the counseling is available 24/7 -- usually via phone call -- and a large number of officers have been taking advantage of the program ... and it's likely saving lives.
As we've reported ... Capitol Police have reinforcements now in protecting the building -- in the form of thousands of members of the National Guard -- but the stress and mental toll of the job isn't going away any time soon.