Suicide prevention resources for first responders

From police officers to firefighters, studies show that suicide continues to outpace other causes of death for first responders


By PoliceOne Staff

Public safety is a difficult profession that can lead to mental health struggles – and those struggles cannot be left untreated. More police officers died by suicide than in the line of duty in 2018, as was the case the previous year and the year prior to that. A study commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation found that firefighters are also more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. The following is a list of suicide prevention resources for first responders. Whether you’re on the front line and in need of immediate help, or in a leadership position looking to offer better prevention programs and help for your staff, this list should point you in the right direction.

PROGRAMS

Public safety is a difficult profession that can lead to mental health struggles – and those struggles cannot be left untreated. (Photo/Pixabay)
Public safety is a difficult profession that can lead to mental health struggles – and those struggles cannot be left untreated. (Photo/Pixabay)

The following programs will directly help you or help connect you to the resources you or a loved one needs. The majority of these are tailored specifically to first responders. Also, keep in mind that many of these websites list additional resources to the ones listed in this article.

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline

The lifeline provides 24/7 confidential support for those in distress or in need of help for their loved ones.

CONTACT: Call 800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Crisis Text Line

A text will connect you with a trained crisis counselor, 24/7.

CONTACT: https://www.crisistextline.org/ or text BADGE to 741741

1st Help

1st Help matches first responders with appropriate services based on a brief questionnaire, which determines what specific assistance you need (emotional, financial, religious, etc.).

CONTACT: http://www.1sthelp.net/

Safe Call Now

Safe Call Now is a 24-hour crisis referral service for those in public safety and their family members.

CONTACT: https://www.safecallnow.org/ or call 206-459-3020

First Responder Support Network

FRSN provides educational treatment programs for first responders and their families.

CONTACT: http://www.frsn.org/ or call 415-721-9789

Serve & Protect

Serve & Protect helps connect public safety professionals with trauma services.

CONTACT: https://serveprotect.org/ or call 615-373-8000 for the crisis line.

Cops Alive

Cops Alive provides resources and strategies to help cops live happy and successful lives.

CONTACT: http://www.copsalive.com/

CopLine

CopLine is a 24/7 service that will connect you to a peer support counselor.

CONTACT: http://www.copline.org/ or call 800-267-5463

Treatment Placement Specialists

This program offers treatment guidance based on the individual needs of officers.

CONTACT: https://www.treatmentplacementspecialists.com/first-responders/ or call 877-540-3935

VALOR

The Valor Officer Safety and Wellness program is a Bureau of Justice Assistance funded initiative that provides a ton of resources and online training focused on improving officer health and resilience.

CONTACT: https://www.valorforblue.org/Home


ADVOCACY

The following organizations are working to raise mental health awareness and treatment options for police officers.

Blue H.E.L.P.

Blue H.E.L.P. is an organization working to reduce mental health stigma in law enforcement and raise awareness of the problem of suicide in LE.

CONTACT: https://bluehelp.org/

Badge of Life

Badge of Life’s focus is educating and training agencies on mental health and suicide prevention in law enforcement.

CONTACT: https://www.badgeoflife.org/


LITERATURE

Whether you’re in a leadership role or on the front line, these books offer a wealth of information and guidance on the issues of mental health and suicide in law enforcement.

Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement: A Guide for Officers and Their Families

I Love a Cop: What Police Families Need to Know

The Price They Pay

Hearts Beneath the Badge

Armor Your Self: How To Survive A Career In Law Enforcement


POLICEONE RESOURCES

From choosing the right mental health clinician to breaking the mental health stigma in law enforcement, the following is a collection of content on PoliceOne for police officers at all levels.

How to prevent police officers from dying by suicide

Emotional wellness and suicide prevention for police officers

Are we complicit in police suicide?

Policing Matters Podcast: How to help prevent police officer suicide

7 ways to prevent police suicide by focusing on overall officer well-being

Police health and wellness: 5 myths we must bust

Suffering in silence: Mental health and stigma in policing

4 things police leaders should be doing to stop police suicide

How to launch a successful peer support program

My husband’s suicide: Recognizing predictors of police suicide

Breaking the Silence: Preventing Suicide in Law Enforcement

How to prevent PTSD from leading to police suicide

9 ways for cops to fight mental health stigma

What first responders should seek in mental health clinicians

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