Spring 2022 - 21

According to the latest law enforcement
statistics by the National Alliance on Mental
Illness (NAMI), police officers report much
higher rates of depression, burnout, PTSD, and
anxiety than the general population. In addition,
almost 25% of police officers have experienced
suicidal ideation at least once in their lifetime.
2
..More police officers die by suicide than
..in the line of duty.
The suicide rate for law enforcement officers
is one of the most alarming statistics published
by NAMI. Not only do more police officers
die by suicide than they do in the line of duty,
but this rate increases to over three times
the national average for those serving in the
smallest departments. And when compared
with firefighters, the suicide rate for police
officers was four times higher.
3
..Productivity is negatively affected by
..poor mental health.
Completing required tasks is vital to
effectively serve in any role, whether within the
criminal justice system or beyond. However,
the job functions of police officers are critical
to public safety. Duties include enforcing
local and state laws, preparing for disaster
and/or emergency situations, acting as a
criminal investigator, giving court testimonies,
and carrying out various methods of crime
prevention. When the productivity of a police
officer drops - which is often caused by mental
strain - the public at large is put at risk.
4
..Most law enforcement officers do not
..seek care for mental health issues.
The stigmatization of mental health is a major
factor that prevents police officers from getting
help. In an anonymous survey of more than 400
Dallas Police Department personnel, entitled
" Prevalence of Mental Illness and Mental Health
Care Use Among Police Officers, " four primary
barriers to mental health service access were
identified:
* Inability of police officers to recognize when
they are experiencing a mental health issue
* Concerns regarding confidentiality
* Belief that mental health professionals
cannot relate to those working in law
enforcement jobs
* The notion that those who seek mental
health services are unfit to serve as officers in
the criminal justice system
Consequently, less than 20% of police officers
with confirmed mental health issues had sought
services in the previous year.
5
..Despite lack of treatment, mental health
..illnesses are prevalent among those with
law enforcement jobs.
The prevalence of lifetime mental illness
diagnoses was a key focus in the 2020 Dallas
Police survey. Findings showed that the odds
of a lifetime mental illness diagnosis were much
higher among female officers than male officers.
The odds were also higher for military veterans
versus nonveterans, and for unmarried, divorced/
separated, or widowed officers. Additionally,
mental illness diagnoses were more prevalent
among officers with more than 15 years of law
enforcement career experience. n
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Spring 2022

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Spring 2022

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