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Suicide Prevention in US Law Enforcement Agencies: a National Survey of Current Practices

NCJ Number
Date Published
12 pages
Since increasing attention is being paid to suicide among law enforcement officers, and how the agencies that employ these officers could prevent such deaths, the current study presents the results of a national survey of U.S. law enforcement agencies' strategies for preventing officer suicide.
A total of 177 agencies from across the United States were invited to be interviewed, and 110 agreed to participate in qualitative interviews. Agencies were grouped into one of four categories based on the services they offered. Agencies offered minimal (a municipal employee assistance program), basic (mental health, critical incident response procedures, and training), proactive (in-house mental health care, embedded chaplains, substance misuse programs, peer support, screening, or health and wellness programs), and integrated services (integration of services into day-to-day operations). The results indicate that many U.S. law enforcement agencies are engaged in efforts to promote officer wellness and prevent suicide. Officers' perceptions of confidentiality may inhibit the use of in-house or contracted mental health services, and a weak or inconclusive evidence-base raises questions about common approaches, such as peer support or critical incident stress debriefing. (publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019