The Mental Health Reality Behind the Badge
Fact: More police officers die by suicide than in the line of duty. This statistic should not only shock our citizens, but provoke immediate action.
In addition to this troubling fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) approximately 25% of police officers have contemplated suicide in their lifetime. Public unrest that started in 2020 has only added new stressors to the job, affecting recruitment numbers and taking a toll on officer morale.
Considering the high-intensity environment that police officers operate in, it's hard to fathom that internal mental health resources have only become available in police departments in the last few years. With this in mind, I sat down with Baltimore County Maryland Police Officer George Mussini to talk about the mental health revolution taking place among police forces across the country and his personal challenges following a shooting incident at Union Station in Washington, D.C.
Mussini has plenty to say about the realities of policing, why it's so hard to ask for help, and how early intervention can make a big difference. If we want our officers to continue effectively serving our communities, it's critical that we address police officer mental health challenges and its unique stigma in the law enforcement community.
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About Jessica Lauren Walton: Jessica is a communications strategist, video producer, and writer in the U.S. defense industry. She has written articles on a range of security and mental health topics and conducted interviews with military leadership, psychologists, filmmakers, CIA officers, journalists, and more. Jessica recently completed her memoir about her experience as an American woman struggling with mental illness while trying to get into Israeli intelligence.