Suicide in law enforcement is much more prevalent than most people, including officers, understand.
The Carson J Spencer Foundation, in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the American Association of Suicidology, launched a new video in July entitled Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement, making a clear call to action to police chiefs around the world to make suicide prevention a health and safety priority.
The video features real police officers, many from Kenosha and Denver police departments, who describe their struggles in coping with challenges of law enforcement and their own experiences with suicide.
“The tough-guy culture in law enforcement certainly makes for psychological hearty police officers, but when people are overwhelmed by trauma, loss, or a break with mental illness, this tough exterior can prevent the officer from reaching out and getting some much needed support and treatment,” said Sally Spencer-Thomas, CEO and Co-Founder of the Carson J Spencer Foundation.
“As a law enforcement officer for 30 plus years, the last eight as a chief, I assure you the care for officers’ mental and emotional health must be equivalent to that of their safety and physical health. Use this video to start the conversation. Silence only compounds the problem,” added Kenosha Police Chief John Morrissey, a member of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention’s Workplace Task Force.
The video was produced by the Carson J Spencer Foundation, a Denver-based nonprofit leading innovation in suicide prevention, and was supported financially by the Kenosha Police Department. Additional support was provided by the Denver Police Department and police psychologists from Nicoletti-Flater Associates.
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