Franklin James Cook

Problem of Police Suicide Garners Editorial Attention

In Grief, Prevention on November 3, 2008 at 9:45 am

ORIGINAL EDITORIAL — The Philadelphia Inquirer sees a trend in police suicide that merits the attention of its editorial page, which highlights a state task force in New Jersey that is addressing the problem there. The newspaper notes that “nationally, a law-enforcement officer suicide occurs every 17 to 21 hours — about 400 annually — according to Robert Douglas, executive director of the National Police Suicide Foundation.”

Law-enforcement officers need to know that there is no shame in getting help. Their superiors and fellow officers need to know how to identify warning signs and how to help those in trouble.

New Jersey has taken a step in the right direction by creating a task force that has been long called for by the Police Benevolent Association. The task force should look to a model taught by Douglas that requires mandatory police-suicide-awareness training and a peer support network, and adds more psychologists to departments.

The National Police Suicide Foundation was founded by Rev. Robert Douglas, whose work as a police chaplain made him “aware of the need for assistance for police and emergency workers as well as the families of suicide victims.”

[The foundation’s] goals are to provide suicide-related counseling and support for families and officers (including law enforcement, paramedics, IRS agents, firemen, and other emergency workers), provide encouragement and hope to families of suicide victims, … provide educational seminars … on suicide awareness, and provide a network of communication among suicide survivors.

[The abridged URL for this post is  http://tinyurl.com/PoliceAttention .]

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