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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 165249 Find in a Library
Title: Preventing Police Suicide
Journal: FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin  Volume:65  Issue:10  Dated:(October 1996)  Pages:24-27
Author(s): T E Baker; J P Baker
Date Published: 1996
Page Count: 4
Sponsoring Agency: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
Sale Source: NCJRS Photocopy Services
Box 6000
Rockville, MD 20849-6000
United States of America
Document: HTML
Type: Report (Technical Assistance)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The research clearly indicates that being a police officer increases the risk of suicide and points to the need for further research, innovative prevention programs, and proactive training to save police officers' lives.
Abstract: During 1994 a record 11 New York City police officers committed suicide, while only two police officers were killed by criminals. Two reactions occur that hinder the helping process when police officers experience serious, long-term emotional problems. First, the affected officers, friends, coworkers, and police administrators initially deny that a problem exists. Second, the affected officers often resist seeking help even when a problem is eventually acknowledged. They fear losing their jobs, being demoted, or having their personal problems exposed for public ridicule. These common systemic reactions must be overcome before any successful intervention can take place. All police personnel should receive education on depression and suicide. Supervisors should look for a cluster of warning signs such as a recent loss, sadness, frustration, disappointment, grief, alienation, depression, loneliness, physical pain, mental anguish, and mental illness. The strongest behavioral warning is a suicide attempt. In addition, an officer's failure to perform at the optimal level for an extended period of time could be related to a major depressive episode. Supervisors should schedule interviews with officer who appear depressed, sad, hopeless, or discouraged. They should plan their intervention so that it leads to a professional referral. They should also monitor the situation to ensure that officers are evaluated and receive continued support and counseling. 9 references
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Employee assistance programs; Police stress training; Police supervision; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
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