Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement
After a Suicide Resource Directory
See the Recommended Resources below selected by SPRC personnel.
See All Resources Related to Law Enforcement (below) for a full list of materials, programs, trainings, and other information available from SPRC. Use the filters on the left to narrow your results.
See our Survivors of Suicide Loss page
to learn more about this group. For more on other settings
and groups, see our Settings and Populations pages.
Within the police occupation, officers have an 8-fold risk of killing themselves over being killed by a perpetrator. They also have a 3-fold risk of suicide over on-duty accidents. Officers have an increased rate of separation or divorce within the first three years of employment, and increase rates of substance use when compared to the general population. They are exposed to more trauma in a day than civilians are in a life time. It is said that 38-58% of all active officers have PTSD and few are treated. This can lead to depression and suicide. Officers who are exposed to trauma have a 5-fold risk of suicidal thinking.
Copline is the first national peer to peer hotline exclusively for law enforcement officers and their families. The highest suicide rates in law enforcement are in rural areas in deep undercover operations. The officers are isolated from the ones they love and take on a persona that is needed to survive in the element they are working in. It is imperative that the officers feel there is a safe place to call and get someone that can understand what they are going through. Many officers do not see the changes in their own personalities over time; it is the ones closest to the officer. The line will also be a safe place for spouses, significant others and children to call as well to talk to someone that can help them understand what their loved one might be going through without the fear of repercussions to the officer.
Copline has been written up in the National FOP newspaper as well as in many papers locally throughout the Country. Stephanie Samuels, the creator and Founder of Copline has spoken at the American Police Beat Conference at Harvard Law School Labor and Work life Program and been featured in the American Police Beat Magazine. In the last 2 months, over 200 calls and emails from volunteers have come into Copline. Florida has created a law enforcement officers suicide prevention task force which Copline has been recognized by as being part of the solution to the problem.
COPLINE is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to serving law enforcement officers and their families by providing 24/7 trained peer support for crisis intervention along with referrals to specifically skilled mental health professionals for follow up and continued assistance. COPLINE offers a CONFIDENTIAL 24-hour hotline answered by retired law enforcement officers who have access to continuous critical clinical support in order to help callers through the initial crisis as well as provide ongoing assistance with the successful management of various psychosocial stressors that impact a significant number of law enforcement officers and families throughout the U.S.
COPLINE is committed to providing individual intervention services through the hotline, while also focusing on a broader influence across the law enforcement and mental health communities. Through education, advocacy, research, and the development of prevention programs COPLINE is devoted to encouraging officers and their families to reach out for help when they need it, and to ensuring user-friendly access by providing a single point of entry to law enforcement peer counseling crisis services through innovative telephony and internet-based technologies. This offers callers readily available and highly specialized resources any time of the day or night. It is the expressed goal of COPLINE to decrease the ever-rising rates of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, divorce, depression, alcoholism, domestic violence, and suicide within this countrys law enforcement community.
When civilians need assistance in a
crisis, whenever or whatever the problem may be, they simply
call 911 and help arrives. When the officers who selflessly
and courageously provide that help day after day, citizen
after citizen, crisis after crisis, need assistance for
themselves it should be there every time, all the time. It
should be immediate, confidential, consistent, and well
qualified to meet their unique needs. COPLINE will answer