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Law Enforcement and Their Families

Law enforcement officers face unique mental health challenges than other professions.  

According to the latest law enforcement statistics by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), police officers report much higher rates of depression, burnout, PTSD and anxiety than the general population. In addition, almost 25% of police officers have experienced suicidal ideation at least once in their lifetime. 

Another study shows that for every officer that dies in the line of duty, 2.5 officers die by suicide.

The job of a law enforcement officer is often stressful, demanding and dangerous. The lifestyle and culture of law enforcement affects more than just the officers. Spouses, partners, parents, children and companions of law enforcement officers play an integral role in an officer’s health and wellness (International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2022). 

It's important to address mental health and substance use concerns among active and retired law enforcement officers, as well as the health of their families. 

Ask For Backup

Start talking. Create a culture that supports speaking up about mental health challenges. Normalize calling in for backup.

Check on your team. If you have your partner’s back in the field, have their back at home. Ask if they are okay, and know the signs of Blue Suicide.

Get help. You’ve been there. You know when the job gets heavy. Remind your fellow officers that resources are available.

If you are feeling depressed, anxious, overwhelmed, or suicidal, call or text 988. An operator will listen to what’s going on, talk you through next steps, and connect you the specific type of help you need. Depending on your situation, that may look like a therapist recommendation, self-care resources, or if appropriate, connection with an Urgent Care and Crisis Center.

80% of people get what they need with one simple phone call.

Multiple studies have shown that callers to lifelines like 988 are significantly more likely to feel less depressed, anxious, or overwhelmed, experience less suicidal thoughts, and feel more hopeful after speaking with an operator.

Know the Risk Factors

Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can't cause or predict a suicide attempt, but they're important to be aware of:

  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
  • Alcohol and other substance use disorders
  • Hopelessness
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • History of trauma or abuse
  • Major physical illnesses
  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Family history of suicide
  • Job or financial loss
  • Loss of relationship(s)
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • Local clusters of suicide
  • Lack of social support and sense of isolation
  • Stigma associated with asking for help
  • Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
  • Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)

Know The Signs

Some warning signs may help you determine if a loved one is at risk for suicide, especially if the behavior is new, has increased, or seems related to a painful event, loss, or change. If you or someone you know exhibits any of these, seek help by calling or texting 988 (Oklahoma's Mental Health Lifeline).

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
  • Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
  • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Extreme mood swings

Crisis Intervention Team

The Crisis Intervention Team program is a community effort partnering both police officers and the community together for common goals of safety, understanding and service to individuals with mental illness and their families.


MyCare is a personalized care platform that allows patients, providers, first responders, case manager and other needing to deliver Behavioral Health services anywhere, anytime. MyCare is a private, secure resource that allows for on-demand assessments or counseling with concurrent documentation and solution analytics, that help measure outcomes and treatment plans. Visit the MyCare website to learn more.

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Cory Sutton

Law Enforcement Liason