Public safety occupations have been linked to an increased suicide risk. A 2016 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked protective services occupations (e.g., law enforcement officers, firefighters) as having the six highest suicide rate among all occupations. The report noted that risk factors for suicide among these workers may include exposure to traumatic, violent, and lethal situations; work overload; shift work; and access to lethal means. Among women, these occupations were associated with the highest suicide rates, perhaps due to additional stressors they may face in these traditionally male-dominated occupations.
Resources for Law Enforcement Officers and Firefighters
The Action Alliance (Workplace Task Force) has developed two resources for suicide prevention in occupations related to public safety:
- Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement video and accompanying facilitation guide, intended to help start the conversation on suicide prevention and officer wellness
- Firefighters Coping with the Aftermath of Suicide, a video that explores the effect of suicide on firefighters and first responders