Police Officers are always giving help to other people. And they need to know that it is okay to get help for themselves. Think about the stress and the cumulative trauma that they see on a daily basis. From shooting scenes, to murder scenes, to interviewing sexual assault victims. It’s shocking! And no one really talks about it.
Just about a week ago, a New York City Officer took his own life, bringing the total death by suicide in the NYPD to a record 10 active duty officers this year.
What are police departments doing about this?
The New York Police Department (NYPD), who has the nation’s largest police force, are working with a world renowned medical center to offer help to their Officers. The mental health program that has been implemented, will allow an officer to call (anonymously) and get help without it being recorded in their file. It’s confidential and at no cost to the officer. A database will be kept from an outside source (not affiliated with the agency), so they won’t know who anyone is, rather just the number of people who are going through the program.
Internally there seems to be a stigma from Officers who need help and are considering taking their own lives. This tragedy reaches far beyond NYC and is a national crisis. According to an organization called Blue Help, at least 184 officers have taken their own lives this year. The organization tracks nationally the number of officer suicides.
When our officers suffer, we all suffer.
Sidelining any officers who do reach out for help and needs counseling would be an outright heartbreak. No one’s career needs to be destroyed because they need support.
For everyone out there and anyone reading this who might know of an Officer who needs support, please seek help!
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.