How you can spot warning signs and help prevent police suicide
By Mark Bond, professor of criminal justice at American Military University
The police profession can no longer ignore the silent suffering of its officers. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is real and it is a lot more common among first responders than initial indications.
Preventing police suicide is every officer’s responsibility.
However, the major hurdle to addressing this professional tragedy is the silence of the first-responder culture. Until recently, this unwillingness to openly discuss the impacts of PTSD has kept mental health issues a professional secret in law enforcement (Mittal et al., 2013). This has happened despite the fact that so many officers are impacted by traumatic events that often lead to PTSD.
Research on Police Suicides
In a recent research study, O’Hara, Violanti, Levenson, & Clark (2013) showed that suicide is not openly discussed in police culture because officers view police suicide as dishonorable to the profession. Additional research on PTSD by Chae & Boyle (2013) linked the increase of suicidal behavior to those who suffer from PTSD.The O’Hara, Violanti, Levenson, & Clark (2013) study [which you can read here] focused on police suicides for the years 2008, 2009, and 2012.