PENNSYLVANIA: New documentary addresses stress, suicide among police officers

March 27, 2015
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark News
State:  Pennsylvania

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Twice as many police officers die by suicide each year as lose their lives in traffic accidents or assaults while on duty, according to an estimate by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey said that officers often worry that admitting they are struggling mentally might lead to losing their jobs. “I want to see them get help,” he said. To encourage greater openness, he and Luis Centeno, police chaplain, collaborated with a Villanova University film professor on the creation of Blue, a 40-minute documentary about the stresses of police work that is set in Philadelphia. The film includes interviews with officers who have been suicidal and family members of police who have died by suicide. Blue has been screened at police association gatherings, and is being distributed to police officers for free with an app that offers a mental health self-assessment tool, information about how to get help, and the IACP’s report Breaking the Silence on Law Enforcement Suicides.

Spark Extra! Read Breaking the Silence on Law Enforcement Suicides and watch a trailer for the film Blue.

Populations:  People in Particular Occupations
Settings:  Law Enforcement
Strategies:  Increase Help-Seeking