With the hope to help put an end to suicide and reduce the stigma that has been associated with seeking help, National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day recognizes that a life is not defined by one difficult moment in time.
History of National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day
Due to the nature of their work, law enforcement officers and first responders witness more tragedies and traumas than the average person. These experiences put them at a greater risk of developing mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other factors that can be precursors to suicide. Low morale, grief, employee shortages and other struggles can also contribute to challenging mental health issues.
National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day was founded in 2020 through the efforts of Blue H.E.L.P., which is an organization that honors the service of law enforcement officers who have lost their lives to suicide. The understanding is that all officers, regardless of the method of their death, deserve to be acknowledged, honored and appreciated, and their families deserve to be supported.
The purpose behind National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day is not only to bring appreciation and acknowledgement to those who have died by suicide, but also to raise awareness about the suicide in law enforcement as officers and families are reminded that they are not alone.
How to Observe National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day
Work toward protecting those who protect their community by showing support and reducing the stigma that surrounds struggles experienced by law enforcement officers and first responders. Connect with National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day with some of these ideas for observing the event:
Participate in Awareness Events
An excellent way to get involved with National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day is to join the community in raising awareness of the issue and also raising funds that may help support those law enforcement families impacted by suicide and provide access to mental health care for those who need it. Those who are in a community where no awareness walks or other events are scheduled might consider gathering a group of supporters and hosting one of their own!
Learn Warning Signs of Suicide
One of the best ways to be connected with this day is to be knowledgeable and informed about the warning signs of suicide, with the hope of seeking help and prevention. Encouraging open conversations about the topic and lending a listening ear is one of the most important ways to foster mental health.
Consider some of these important factors in honor of National Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day:
Talking about or even glorifying the idea of death (or suicide), including direct or indirect verbal cues (i.e. “What’s the point of living?” or “I wish I was dead.”)
Self-isolating from friends and family members, perhaps with signs of alcohol or drug use
Giving away important and treasured possessions
Feelings or actions that point to being out of control, overwhelmed, taking unnecessary risks, or deteriorating job performance