The First Responder Suicide Awareness and Assisting Survivors course explains that each year, the number of first responder suicides actually exceeds the number line-of-duty deaths. For example, in 2018, 163 law enforcement officers took their own lives while there were 150 line of duty deaths. And since January 2016, 17 Ohio officers were confirmed to have taken their own lives. One theory as to why suicide is so prevalent in this population is that first responders are placed daily in the almost impossible situation of having to anticipate and be responsible for the actions of others. And when they are unable to prevent disaster from striking, a vicious cycle of guilt, shame and anger may ensue. Due to the fact public safety personnel are trained to help others, they are often reluctant to ask for help for themselves when they might genuinely need. Similarly, colleagues, supervisors and loved ones who fail to recognize the signs of distress before suicides are attempted are often haunted by the intrusive emotions of guilt, shame and anger as well.
This awareness course provides tools and techniques to guide a person contemplating suicide to a qualified mental health professional so that healing may begin.