A theory- Suicide, Cops, and Black Lives Matter


Police officers have the highest rate of suicide than any other career.

Why?  It is a hard job with a lot of stress.  Police officers handle cases that include abuse, accidents, homicides, etc.

I have a theory that a contributing factor to high suicide rates amongst police is linked to the the conversation we are having about the black lives matter movement, more specifically policing in black communities.

There is bias built around certain communities, which causes a build up of stress.  If an officer goes into encounters with the assumption (based on bias or reality) that a person is going to harm them, stress is elevated.  If this is a persistent state, it impacts a person’s mental health.

Another connection to stress and suicide is the idea of doing harm.  My guess is most people enter law enforcement because they want to do good.  It can be jarring to learn that some types of policing can be harmful to a community as opposed to helpful.  That can cause a disconnect and contribute to stress.

I admit this is a simplistic idea.  However, I think if we are serious about impacting police suicide, then every idea should be explored.  And if one of the side effects is modifying the policing in black communities, then that is a welcome bonus.

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