For Police, Fire, EMS , Dispatchers and
all First Responders
\
 Identify common risk factors or
warning signs that
indicate someone has serious life problems or may
be thinking about suicide.
 Identify protective factors that may reduce
the risk
of suicide.
 Learn an easy to remember method of suicide
intervention
 At
the hands of bad guys
 In
accidents, including car crashes
 By
heart attacks
 By
their own hand
Inherent dangers of police work
such as the risk of homicide or
accidents overshadow the
psychological danger of this
occupation…..
Don’t
Seekgo
Help
it alone
“Suicide is a conscious act of
self-annihilation brought
about by multi-dimensional
malaise”
Edwin Schniedman
 “The
Forever Decision”
Suicide is an attempt to solve a problem of intense
emotional pain with impaired problem-solving skills.2
Individuals of all races, creeds, incomes, and educational
levels die by suicide. There is no typical suicide victim.3
Crisis thinking colors problem solving:
Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth
Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. http://spts.pldm.com/
Person is often ambivalent:
Suicidal solution has an irrational component:
Suicide is a form of communication:
Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth
Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. http://spts.pldm.com/
REASONS FOR POLICE SUICIDE

LEGAL TROUBLE –
15%
MURDER-SUICIDE – 10%
RELATIONSHIPS –
32%
STRESS –
11%
CRITICAL INCIDENT – 6%
ILLNESS –
3%
FINANICAL 7%
PSYCHOLOGICAL – 12%
ALCOHOL –
4%
• Depression
• Relationship conflicts or personal
losses
• Easy access to firearms
• Drug and alcohol abuse
• Financial difficulty
• Internal investigations
Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide. http://www.sprc.org/library/srisk.pdf
Clinical Depression
Personally Significant Loss
Drug or Alcohol Abuse
Previous Suicide Attempts
A Marked Negative Change in Behavior
Recent Study on PTSD and Suicide Ideation:
PTSD due to witnessing the homicide of another officer
INCREASES RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING - 2 1/2 times
PTSD due to witnessing death, devastation (e.g. 911), abused
children
INCREASES THE RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING - OVER 3 Times
PTSD coupled with alcohol use
INCREASES THE RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING NEARLY 10 TIMES
Violanti, SLTB, 2004
Reason for living; Suicide is not an option:
Suicide unacceptable:
?
Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
♫♪♭
• Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all
ages in 2010
• There were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the United
States--an average of 105 each day
• Based on data about suicides in 16 National Violent
Death Reporting System states in 2009, 33.3% of
suicide decedents tested positive for alcohol, 23%
for antidepressants, and 20.8% for opiates, including
heroin and prescription pain killers.
• Suicide results in an estimated $34.6 billion in
combined medical and work loss costs.
www.cdc.gov/injury/wisquars/index.html 10/2010
More Missourians die by suicide than by DWI,
homicide, or AIDS.
Missouri’s rate of suicide is 14.4/100,000
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Missouri
Men accout for 79% of completed suicides; women 21%
The leading methods of suicide in Missouri are
firearms (56%) Suffocation (21%) poisoning (18%)
http://dmh.mo.gov/docs/mentalillness/suicideplan.pdf
 The
suicide rate for police officers is
17/100,000, compared to the general
population's rate of 11/100,000.
The Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention. 2008 Annual Report.
http://www.helppromotehope.com/documents/Annual_Report.pdf
Question the meaning of suicidal
communication.
Persuade the person to get help.
Refer to competent counseling.
Don’t hesitate to raise the subject.
Be direct, but non-confrontational. Engage them:
• Are you thinking about suicide?
• What thoughts or plans do you have?
• Are you thinking about harming yourself, ending your
life?
• How long have you been thinking about suicide?
• Have you thought about how you would do it?
• Do you have _____ (Insert means, weapon, etc.)
• Do you really want to die, or do you want the pain to
go away?
Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
 Listen
to the problem with your full
attention.
 Remember, suicide is not the problem,
only the solution to a perceived insoluble
problem.
 Do not rush judgment.
 Offer hope in any form.
 “Will
you go with me to get help?”
 “Will
you let me get you help?”
Your willingness to listen and help
can rekindle hope
and make all the difference!!
 Suicidal
people sometimes feel they can’t
be helped so you may have to do more.
 The
best course is getting a commitment
from them to accept help, and then
making arrangements for that help.






Do not leave the person alone
Know referral resources
Reassure the person
Encourage the person to participate in the helping
process
Encourage the suicidal person to identify other people
in their lives who can also help.
Outline a safety plan:
Make arrangements for the helper to come to you OR
take the person directly to the source of help
Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
Do you have a therapist/doctor?
Are you seeing him/her?
Are you taking your medications?
Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide
Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
But suicide isn’t the only problem
For every officer who commits suicide…
there are a thousand more who continue
working, suffering from trauma and pain.
 Confide
in a Friend
 Confide in the Department Chaplain
 Confide in your Clergy
 Contact the Department EAP
(Employee Assistance Program)
 Contact a Counselor
Sources: Badge of Life, Law Enforcement Wellness Association Inc.
By special permission: portions of power point lessons – on PTSD
by Dr. Marc Unger Summit Bible College Bakersfield CA
+IN HARMS WAY and the Department of Justice
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Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness and Prevention (Part 1)