NEW YORK — Three members of the New York Police Department have died by suicide in less than 10 days, Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said Friday.
Last week, a respected chief and an experienced detective died within 24 hours of one another, O’Neill said. Friday, a “promising 29-year-old police officer with six years on the job” died behind the NYPD precinct in Staten Island, where he worked, the commissioner said.
“This is a mental-health crisis. And we — the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole — absolutely must take action,” O’Neill said in a statement. “This cannot be allowed to continue. Cops spend so much of their days assisting others. But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves.”
A 2018 study by the Ruderman Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization, found policemen and firefighters are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. But there are several barriers preventing first responders from accessing mental health services, “including shame and stigma,” the paper states.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.