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NYPD suicide problem grows as eighth officer takes own life this year

Department leadership has tried to promote mental health

Albin Lohr-Jones/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

A New York police officer killed himself Tuesday, marking the eighth NYPD suicide of the year and highlighting the persistent problem of suicide among police officers, according to the New York Times.

The officer who took his own life Tuesday has not been identified. He was a 35-year-old who had been an NYPD officer for seven years with no record of disciplinary issues.

Police found him in his Yonkers home in response to a 3 a.m. call reporting a suicide. He was off-duty and not alone in his home at the time of the suicide. Police don't suspect foul play in his death.

An average of five NYPD officers commit suicide every year since 2014, meaning 2019's eight suicides in the first eight months is an unusually devastating year for the department.

After four NYPD officers killed themselves in June alone, Commissioner James O'Neill declared a mental health crisis and emphasized to officers that they could seek confidential help with mental health issues from several sources.

Between June 5 and June 26, one officer shot himself in his squad car, another shot himself in a marsh in Brooklyn, another shot himself near the precinct station in Staten Island, and a fourth killed himself in his Long Island home.

All four June suicides were done using the officers' service pistols, making it notable that constant access to firearms is considered one of the factors putting police officers at a higher risk of suicide. Other factors include the obviously high stress of the job, and the requirement that officers control or restrain their emotions at almost all times.

Police officers, and first responders in general, are more likely to commit suicide than they are to die in the line of duty, and they historically have higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression and suicide than the general population.

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