APD & Aspire Behavioral Health addresses the mental health of law enforcement for Suicide Prevention Month

ALBANY, Ga. – September is Suicide Awareness Month, a time to be more attentive to one’s mental health. Including those who work diligently to keep us safe.

According to the addition center, police officers are at higher risk of suicide than any other profession.

13 out of every 100,000 people die by suicide in the general population – that number increased to 17 out of 100,000 for police officers.

“Suicide is the tenth cause of the death for the state of Georgia. Suicide is the second cause of death for individuals of ages 25-34. It is the third leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24, and it is the fourth leading cause of death for those individuals 35-45. So, let’s prioritize asking the question, “Are you thinking about dying by suicide?” Ask the question, save a life,” said Angie Williams, Aspire Youth & Young Adult Coordinator.

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According to the law enforcement suicide data collection, in 2022, twenty-two agencies reported 32 deaths by suicide and 9 attempted suicides by current and former officers.

Corporal Irene Christian talks about the challenges officers face that potentially affect their mental health.

“Officers face several different kinds of challenges as well as stressors. They can range anywhere from the long work hours, to their diet, being away from family, and also the traumatic events that they do witness on the daily. This goes with their mental health because it is not being addressed,” said Corporal Irene Christian, Head of R.E.A.C.H. Department.

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The Albany Police Department offer help to address the challenges officers may struggle with pertaining to their mental health.

“There are several ways officers can cope with, due to the fact these challenges can lead to things as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and unfortunately, suicidal indications. There is different online platforms, such as virtual academy, which is a way for officers to receive training to deal with the traumatic events they experience. They also need to maintain an open line of communication, whether it’s with a supervisor, co-worker, or someone out in the community. They also have an open door policy at most police departments to assist officers. As well as E.A.P, which is the counseling offered by the police department,” said Corporal Christian.

“If you or anyone you know is in a crisis, you can call Aspire Behavior Crisis Center at (229)-430-1842. Or, you can call our Crisis Lifeline at 9-8-8. Or, you can call our Georgia Crisis Access Line, and that number is 1-800-715-4225,” said Williams.

De’Andra Jacobs reporting.

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