According to recent data released in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report the protective service occupation (e.g. firefighters, correctional officers, police officers) have been linked to an increased suicide risk. Among males, protective service workers had the 6th highest rate of suicide among major occupational groups in 2015. Among females, protective service workers had the 2nd highest rate of suicide among major occupational groups in 2015.
Public Safety Task Force
The Action Alliance (Public Safety Task Force) hosted the first-ever national public safety summit in 2019, bringing together more than 25 diverse public safety sector representatives to identify proposed solutions and build a shared vision and action plan for comprehensive suicide prevention across the sector. As a result of the summit, the Public Safety Task Force identified three key areas of focus that offer the most opportunity for system-level change within the sector: policy, collaboration, and messaging.
In addition, the Action Alliance 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
"The Metropolitan Fire Chiefs Association of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) endorses the work of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Public Safety Task Force, and commits to working across the public safety sector to reduce first responder suicide."
National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide
In 2018, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice launched the National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide, an initiative of the National Officer Safety Initiatives Program. The Action Alliance joined the Consortium, and in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police and the Education Development Center, is examining suicide prevention among law enforcement officers and designing recommendations and solutions to address the issue. In 2020, the National Consortium released the following resources:
- Preventing Suicide Among Law Enforcement Officers: An Issue Brief, which outlines risk and protective factors, challenges to suicide prevention, strategies and best practices, as well as existing knowledge gaps
- National Consortium on Prevent Law Enforcement Suicide Toolkit, which provides the information that agencies need to develop and implement a customized agency approach to prevent officer suicide and strengthen officer mental health