Pulling Back the Curtain on Police Officers’ Suicides

June 02, 2017

News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News


Local and national efforts are underway to prevent suicide among the country’s law enforcement officers. According to experts, there is increasing awareness that high stress and low help-seeking can place officers at risk for suicide and mental health problems. Bipartisan legislation recently introduced in Congress reflects a federal effort to provide law enforcement agencies with the resources to address it. States are also taking steps to make it easier for officers to access mental health services, such as expanding workers’ compensation coverage to include posttraumatic stress disorder. Local approaches aim to counteract the “macho” police culture and fear of negative repercussions that can lead to a reluctance to seek help. These include yoga classes for officers across the country, a theater workshop for police and residents in Brooklyn, and an art show at a Chicago police station. Some police departments are changing the way that they classify officer suicide deaths, such as labeling them line-of-duty, to highlight the mental health risks associated with police work and the need for support services.

Spark Extra! Learn more about suicide prevention among law enforcement.