Law enforcement officers are more at risk of death from suicide than line of duty
ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Law enforcement officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty according to the CDC.
Due to the challenges they face from their duties, law enforcement officers commonly encounter issues with mental health.
“One of the reasons is they actually view a lot of traumatic events during the course of their work. Whether it is someone dying in a fire or coming upon a car accident where people have been badly injured, all of these are traumatic events. Especially in that culture, they don’t actually wanna talk about it.”
Blue H.E.L.P. says 172 officers died by suicide in 2022. Rochester’s law enforcement psychologist Dr. Steven Norton says this risk has to do with officers tending to be problem solvers by nature.
“When they are faced with a situation where they can’t solve the problem, that also can sometimes add additional stress. That can take a toll and sometimes officers find themselves in a position of not seeing any other positive outcomes or options other than potentially a suicide.”
In addition to speaking to their loved ones, Dr. Norton encourages officers to reach out to their peers for support. He says trained peer support officers can have a more personal understanding of their mental health challenges.
“Seeking out help after seeing a number of traumatic events during your career is not a sign of weakness, but actually a sign of strength. And I would say for family and friends they need to keep reminding that person that what you’ve seen is difficult, and you need to get help and support and don’t be afraid to talk about it.”
“It’s not necessarily a fault of theirs. It’s the job. It’s the stress of the job. It’s the difficulties of the job they are dealing with. It’s not a personal fault.”
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Please call or text the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline at 988.
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