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Police Suicide Prevention: Future Directions (From Under the Blue Shadow: Clinical and Behavioral Perspectives on Police Suicide, P 173-177, 2007, John M. Violanti and Stephanie Samuels -- See NCJ-220852)

NCJ Number
John M. Violanti
Date Published
This chapter offers suggestions for how police organizations and researchers can assist in preventing suicide among police officers.
The previous chapters of this book indicate that the personnel and policies of a police agency can have a significant positive effect in preventing officer suicides. Police organizations should have in place various means of recording and analyzing data on officer attitudes and behaviors that suggest symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder and risky behavior, which are often associated with suicidal ideation and intent. Further, officers should be trained in recognizing the warning signs for suicide and in how to manage various sources of occupational stress. Officers should also be informed about how to help fellow officers who show signs of mental strain. Research on factors associated with police suicides and suicide ideation is also important in improving prevention measures. Larger and diversified epidemiological studies are needed. The impact of work exposure in policing is important in any analysis of suicide. Although research has not yet concluded that policing as an occupation is a suicide risk factor in itself, it is apparently an arena for suicide precipitants, including relationship problems, culturally approved alcohol use, and exposure to various events and circumstances that carry a high risk of psychological damage. Clinical research can help to identify specific circumstances associated with suicidal thoughts and behaviors among police officers. This chapter lists seven research findings regarding why police officers might develop suicidal tendencies. 4 references