By: Dr. Ashley michalski
Police officers risk their lives on a daily basis, endure countless traumatic experiences, and ultimately face mental health issues. The goal of the Pillars Inspires 5K Walk/Run is to bring mental health awareness to law enforcement officers.
- More police officers die from suicide than in the line of duty. Despite the national average of suicide decreasing, the police officer suicide trend did not decrease. Researchers believe that lack of research, unaddressed shame and stigma associated with suicide, and lack of resources lead to the discrepancy of suicide rates between police officers and the general population (Stanton, 2022). The Chicago Police Department’s suicide rate is 60% higher than the national average. In one month of 2022, they lost three officers to suicide. Imagine your place of work experiencing three suicides in one month. According to NAMI, nearly 1 in 4 officers have had thoughts of suicide at some point in their life.
- Law enforcement reports much higher rates of mental health concerns. Compared to the general population, law enforcement officers present with higher rates of depression, PTSD, burnout, and anxiety. These are just stats that are reported, there is likely an even higher amount of mental health concerns that go unreported due to the stigma and shame, which can lead to internalizing and more emotional pain and instability.
- Police officers may not only experience a traumatic event, but cumulative trauma. Law enforcement officers being faced with a trauma is inevitable in their line of duty. They respond to car accidents, deaths, abuse, domestic violence, and countless other adverse events. These events can accumulate over time causing symptoms of trauma to emerge. Left untreated they can continue to manifest and lead to substance use, depression, anxiety, interpersonal conflicts, anger, or suicide.
This event is supporting Copline, a non-for-profit agency, who is doing their best to support their fellow officers and give them a space to feel heard and safe. All proceeds will be donated to them.
Come out and enjoy time with the community, get some physical activity, and eat delicious food! Hope to see you out there!