By PoliceOne Staff
CHICAGO — For the third straight year, more officers died by suicide than in the line of duty, WGN 9 reports.
According to Blue H.E.L.P., a nonprofit run by active and retired police officers, at least 159 officers took their own lives in 2018, the same number of suicides tracked in 2017 and 19 more than in 2016.
Exposure to trauma, horrific accidents and shootings are leading to mental health struggles that often get untreated. The rate of PTSD and depression for police and firefighters is five times higher than the civilian population.
A report commissioned by the Ruderman Family Foundation showed that officers’ highest risk of death is by suicide with most deaths in California and Texas.
Critics believe the lack of resources for mental health adds to lives being lost. Mental health experts say the barrier that keeps officers from seeking help are shame, fear of being off the job and the stigma behind it.
Less than 10 percent of U.S. departments have suicide prevention programs.
Police can text “BLUE” or “TALK” to 741741 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or call 1-800-273-8255.