Lead Picture for Suicide Story Commissioner ONeill

Hip-Hop Against Gun And Gang Violence 2019 Campaign With Power 105.1 And “The Shark” Daymond John will focus On Suicide And Mental Illness

Recently the NYPD and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) held an international Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Symposium at Police Headquarters.  The event included a welcome address by Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill and the symposium was facilitated by PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler. This event brought together more than 300 researchers, subject matter experts, and law enforcement personnel from across the world to address the topic of suicide in law enforcement.  Recent research has demonstrated that more law enforcement officers in the United States have died by suicide compared to being killed in the line of duty.

Claiming the lives of nearly 22,000 Americans every year, firearm suicide is a significant public health crisis in the U.S., that is why this year the Hip-Hop Against Gun & Gang Violence Campaign, working with Power 105.1, “The Shark” Daymond John, RCA Records, NYPD’s PSA Unit, NYCHA, and C-COP, will focus on improving awareness about the silent crisis.  There will be a host of events coordinated city-wide hosted by The “Fitness Sheriff”, with his signature E.D.S. Program (Exercise, Diet & Spirituality) and rising Hip-Hop Artist Kali Mac (Show the Ladies Some Love).  As the fight to address gun and gang violence continues, let it be known there are a lot of gang members out there that have mental health problems and need help.  That’s right, there are gang leaders that are mentally ill and have no respect for life or the law whatsoever.  No one wants to talk about the “Mental Health Crisis” but it’s real and this year we will give it some attention.

The Fitness Sheriff

The Fitness Sheriff

Hip-Hop Artist Kali Mac

Hip-Hop Artist Kali Mac

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“As law enforcement officers, we swore an oath to take care of others.  But we can’t forget to take care of ourselves, too,” said Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill.  “Today’s symposium is part of our ongoing effort to listen to our officers, eliminate the stigma of mental health issues, and save lives.  By bringing together cops, researchers, and academic experts in the field of suicide prevention, we will work together to find meaningful solutions to this worldwide crisis.”

Data for Suicide 2

Generally speaking the conversation around gun violence in the U.S. tends to focus on homicides, especially in the context of mass shootings and school shootings.  But nearly two-thirds of all gun deaths the U.S. are suicides; an average of 59 deaths a day and the problem is getting worse.  Over the past decade, the U.S. firearm suicide rate has increased by 19 percent.  Addressing firearm suicide is an essential element of any strategy to reduce suicide and gun violence in this country.  Here is some more data so you can understand the nature of the problem:

  • Approximately 123 Americans commit suicide daily
  • Suicide is the 10thleading cause of death in the U.S. for all ages and the number one killer of teenage girls worldwide.  It’s also the 2nd leading cause of death for children ages 10-24
  • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined
  • “Social Media” may be contributing to the climbing rates of depression, loneliness, and mental health issues, which lead to suicide
  • Science tells us that the human brain is not fully developed until 25 years of age, which is why we need to help our youth find safe alternative ways to deal with their day-to-day problems
PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler

PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler

“More police officers die from suicide than are killed in the line of duty.  Yet, we don’t have great data on how many officers take their lives and why.  This symposium is focused on trying to better understand the problem and find common ground and innovative approaches to suicide prevention,” said PERF Executive Director Chuck Wexler.

The symposium featured presentations from leading researchers and experts in suicide prevention.  This included sharing information on risk factors and warning signs specifically related to law enforcement suicide, dispelling myths regarding suicidal persons, and the psychological autopsy.  Experts included members of the NYPD, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, the American Association of Suicidology, the Ruderman Family Foundation, Columbia University, Griffith University, and the University at Buffalo.

Suicide Pic 2

The symposium also featured unique and innovative programs offered by law enforcement agencies and partners that help officers in crisis receive assistance, fight the stigma associated with seeking support services, and raise awareness of support options within and beyond their agencies.  The NYPD, the National Fraternal Order of Police, the Los Angeles Police Department, Crisis Text Line, the Australian Federal Police, Police Officers Providing Peer Assistance, Boston Police Department, Blue H.E.L.P., and many others shared information with attendees.

“The American Association of Suicidology commends PERF and the NYPD for its strong national leadership in recognizing and addressing law enforcement suicide prevention,” said American Association of Suicidology Executive Director Colleen Creighton.  “We look forward to working with the NYPD and PERF to continue the great work initiated here today so we can help save lives and get officers the critical help they need.”

“Law enforcement officers need and deserve our support.  We are proud to partner with the NYPD to provide confidential crisis counseling to officers by texting BLUE to 741741,” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and Founder of Crisis Text Line.

The symposium concluded with attendees sharing best practices for discussing future collaborations between agencies as well as with partner organizations and researchers in order to continue working to stop suicide in law enforcement, removing the stigma associated with mental health services, and promoting the variety of services that are available.

Suicide Flyer Talk To Me

For more info on our 2019 Campaign which starts May 16-23, a week before Memorial Day Weekend, or on how to get help if you or someone you know is having a mental health problem hit us up at RandyKFisher@gmail.com.

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Written by Charles Fisher and Randy Fisher.

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