Nationwide Officer Security Initiatives

PREVENTING SUICIDE AMONG LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS: AN ISSUE BRIEF

[Editor’s Note: This month is Suicide Prevention Month. Police officers witness some of the most traumatic events in our society. That alone makes police officers a particularly high risk for suicide. Police officers are two to three times more likely to kill themselves than to be killed in the line of duty. The following report addresses this tragedy in our public service and ways to improve officer health and well-being.]

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The next challenge temporary [see link below] synthesizes the present state of data relating to the prevention of suicide amongst regulation enforcement officers.

Prevalence

Whereas the precise variety of officers who die by suicide annually just isn’t recognized, analysis means that extra officers die by suicide annually than within the line of obligation.

The non-profit group BLUE H.E.L.P. has estimated that these deaths elevated from 143 to 228, from 2016 to 2019.

Nevertheless, these numbers are prone to symbolize an undercount, as they’re derived from Web searches and volunteer experiences made by members of the family, associates, colleagues, and others. Furthermore, suicide deaths are sometimes unreported or misreported resulting from stigma and different causes.

Danger and Protecting Elements

Regulation enforcement officers are weak to the identical
threat and precipitating components for suicide as others within the common inhabitants, equivalent to psychological sickness, substance misuse, social isolation, relationship issues, and authorized and monetary points.

Further components extra particular
to the regulation enforcement career embrace publicity to suicide and different traumatic occasions (e.g., youngster abuse, violence, dying of a colleague), quick access to firearms and expertise of their use, and organizational stressors (e.g., shift work, administrative burden). Protecting components
that seem notably related to stopping suicide amongst cops embrace entry to culturally applicable psychological well being and wellness providers, resilience (notably expertise for dealing with work-related stressors), and social assist.

Proof-based Methods and Greatest Practices

Analysis means that suicide prevention packages usually tend to succeed when they’re complete, i.e., they mix a number of methods geared toward affecting threat and protecting components at varied ranges of affect (particular person, interpersonal, group, societal). Examples embrace the 4-component Collectively for Life program performed with cops in Québec, Canada, and the 11-component U.S. Air Drive Suicide Prevention Program.

Police departments nationwide are more and more adopting practices geared toward selling psychological well being and wellness and stopping suicide and associated issues (e.g., EAP providers, peer assist, traumatic incident response). Nevertheless, these practices range dramatically throughout companies.

Information Gaps

No nationwide surveillance system presently collects suicide- associated knowledge particular to regulation enforcement, equivalent to knowledge on suicide deaths, makes an attempt, and ideation. Though regulation enforcement companies are more and more incorporating packages and practices geared toward supporting psychological well being and wellness, few packages have formally evaluated the effectiveness of those efforts. As well as, not a lot is presently recognized about suicide prevention amongst explicit subgroups of officers, equivalent to ladies, racial and ethnic minorities, LGBTQ+ populations, navy service members and veterans, and officers transitioning to retirement or to a different profession.

Regulation enforcement companies ought to implement complete suicide prevention packages that mix a number of methods and practices addressing areas equivalent to:

  • Management and tradition.
  • Entry to culturally competent psychological well being providers n Peer assist.
  • Suicide prevention coaching and consciousness.
  • Occasion response.
  • Household assist.
  • Limiting entry to technique of suicide.
  • Protected and efficient messaging.

Conclusions

Companies must also develop or improve their knowledge assortment programs, in order that the information could also be used to information program planning, decide the effectiveness of suicide prevention efforts, determine classes realized, and assist steady enchancment.

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Learn the complete report HERE.

See additionally: Seven Methods to Stop Police Suicide



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