Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement

Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) Programs

Firefighters Coping with the Aftermath of Suicide

About Copline
Free poster for department bulletin board
Law Enforcement
Survivors of Suicide Loss
‘You are not alone:’ Cop suicides prompt tearful plea from Ontario union leade
After a suicide resource directory: Coping with grief, trauma, and distress

After a Suicide Resource Directory
Suicide prevention resources for survivors of suicide loss (4 page PDF)
Breaking the silence: Suicide prevention in law enforcement Report Video Facilitation Guide
Police-mental health collaboration (PMHC) toolkit
The role of law enforcement officers in preventing suicide (SPRC Customized Information Series) (10 page PDF)
In Harm’s Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention
University of Memphis CIT Center
Law enforcement agencies use new tool to prevent officer suicide
OPP announces review, enhancement to mental health strategy following member suicides
NORTH DAKOTA: Law Enforcement Agencies Use New Tool to Prevent Officer Suicide
MINNESOTA: Police Calls Involving Mental Health Have Doubled. St. Paul Now Devotes a Unit to Them
More officers and firefighters died of suicide than line-of-duty deaths in 2017
INDIANA: Instead of Jailing Those with Mental Illness, Here's What Indianapolis Is Doing
INDIANA: Cumberland Police Launch Team to Connect People Struggling with Mental Health with Available Resource
COLORADO: Colo. Sheriff's Office to Pair Mental Health Specialists with Deputies
TENNESSEE: Highway Patrol Trains Full Force in Suicide Prevention Techniques
Tackling the Stigma: Copline Hotline Helps Officers Struggling with Mental Health
The way forward: Federal action for a system that works for all people living with SMI and SED and their families and caregivers Full report (120 page PDF)
CALIFORNIA: A New Emphasis on Mental Health for Cops, Other Officers
Pulling Back the Curtain on Police Officers' Suicides
Law enforcement and mental health
University of Memphis CIT Center
RHODE ISLAND: Rhode Island Police Learn How to Respond to People Struggling with Mental Illness
MISSOURI: Officers Train for Mental Health Crises
ENGLAND AND WALES: Police to Get New Guidance for Responding to People with Mental Health Issues
After rural suicide: A guide for coordinated community postvention Full Report (53 page PDF)
Police-mental health collaboration (PMHC) toolkit
CANADA: Calgary Police Service mental health program drawing international attention
PENNSYLVANIA: Police Mental Health Training Legislation
INDIANA: Mental Health First Aid Legislation
PENNSYLVANIA: New documentary addresses stress, suicide among police officers
Protect the community, protect each other
Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention for Law Enforcement Video Facilitation Guide
A guide for early responders supporting survivors bereaved by suicide
IACP National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health: Breaking the silence on law enforcement suicides
Breaking the silence: Suicide prevention in law enforcement
Illinois issue papers
Firefighters coping with the aftermath of suicide - Video 10:01
Code 9 Documentary
IACP's National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Sucide and Mental Health: Breaking the Silence on Law Enforcement Suicides Report
In Harm's Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention
National Police Suicide Foundation
Police Suicide Law Enforcement Mental Health Alliance
The Role of Law ENforcement in Preventing Suicide
Veterans Crisis Line/Chat
VA National Center fpr PTSD
Combat Stress Recovery Program
Real Warriors


Law Enforcement

Police officers can contribute to suicide prevention in many ways. They can help individuals at risk for suicide stay safe and obtain the help they need, and can also provide support to survivors at the scene of a suicide. Law enforcement agencies also have a role to play in assisting officers themselves, as the trauma and stress of responding to crises could increase suicide risk in this population.

Learn More

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.

About Copline

Copline (800-COPLINE or 800-267-5463) is the first national law enforcement officers hotline in the country that is manned by retired law enforcement officers. Retired law enforcement officers are trained in active listening and bring the knowledge and understanding of the many psychosocial stressors that officers go through both and off the job. Active officers and or their families can call 24 hours and day 7 days a week and be assured that there is a trained retired officer on the other end of the line whether the caller is calling while on the duty or off. The line is strictly confidential and there is no fear of punitive repercussions from making the call.

The Facts

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.

Target Audience

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 one’s 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 officer’s suicide prevention task force which Copline has been recognized by as being part of the solution to the problem.

Copline's Mission

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 country’s 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 the call.

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