30% of First Responders are struggling with mental health

(COLORADO) — According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, an estimated 30% of first responders are struggling with mental health conditions, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

A recent report found that there were 1,287 law enforcement and corrections officers who died by suicide between 2016 to 2022—an average number of 184 deaths per year. Police officers die more often from suicide than they do in the line of duty.

The average person will experience four to six traumatic events in their lifetime. The number of traumatic events experienced by first responders is much higher—an incredible 400-600 during their career, an average of 20 per year.

These experiences contribute to serious mental health problems for many first responders, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which found work stress to be associated with elevated risk for suicide, anxiety, depression, and other issues for first responders.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, with the national goal of reducing stigma, extending support, encouraging more education about mental health, and advocating for better policies. Information about Law Enforcement Mental Health is being collected by organizations like the Community-Police Relations Foundation to better understand, treat, and destigmatize conversations around this important issue.

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