National Suicide Prevention Month
This month, our rotating patch is for National Suicide Prevention Month. This topic is deeply important to us as it hits us very close to home. We have officers and retired officers who have lost close family members to this silent battle that they waged each and every day behind closed doors. Their lives have been forever changed as a result.
Many studies have shown that some of the highest suicide rates in all professions are among first responders. We have seen friends in the first responder professions struggle to cope with the trauma that they have experienced over the course of their careers. The barrage of death investigations from suicide, homicide, fatal collisions, overdoses, natural causes etc., having close calls with death themselves, the loss of friends in the line of duty and other trauma inflicted over the course of a career takes its toll on even the strongest of individuals.
The causes of suicide are complex and involve many personal, sociodemographic, medical, and economic factors. While much is known about suicide in modern times, there is much that is unknown. The pain and turmoil is kept hidden behind a forced smile, behind closed doors and in a dark place where others cannot see it until it is too late. Even in times when the signs are there, it can be hard to realize just how dark things have gotten both for those experiencing the darkness and those around them. It is very hard to ask for or seek out help when the perceived implication for doing so is the loss of your job/career, loss of your identity if it’s tied to that job, loss of financial stability and a sense of shame for admitting to needing help.
How You Can Help
Educate yourself about suicide. Identify and support those who are at risk and or those who are exhibiting signs of depression or other mental health issues. Create a positive and protective environment for them. Teach them coping and problem-solving skills. Help them to strengthen their economic supports to reduce or eliminate a common stressor.
Most importantly, listen to them. Take the time to just stop and listen to what they’re saying and be a positive and available resource to them. While there are many steps that can be taken to prevent suicide and raise awareness, every case is different. Even those who have done everything possible to help someone will still question themselves over and over afterward to see what they missed or what they could have done differently to help a loved one. Suicide leaves many victims in its wake.
No parent should ever have to bury their child and no child should ever have to prematurely bury their parent.
Be a listener
Be a resource
Be a source of stability
Be a source of support
“Help me leave behind some reasons to be missed” Chester Bennington
Suicide and Crisis Line – 988
Crisis Line https://crisisclinic.org
Suicide Prevention Lifeline www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Veterans Crisis Line https://www.veteranscrisisline.net
Text – 838255