A New York Police Department (NYPD) sergeant died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound Saturday afternoon – the seventh suicide among NYPD personnel this year, and the fifth since June.
News reports say the 30-year-old, who had eight years’ experience on the police force, was found at his home on Staten Island after he failed to report for work.
The NYPD is far from being the only law enforcement agency affected by suicide. At least 167 officers in the U.S. died by suicide last year - more than those who died in the line of duty, according to Blue H.E.L.P., a law enforcement mental health advocacy organization.
NYPD Commissioner O'Neill has referred to the problem as a "mental health crisis" that calls for action.
In a statement issued Saturday, O’Neill told officers; “Seeking help is strength. Talking about your problems is strength. Acknowledging you need a place to turn is strength. There is no shame here ― only a promise to provide you with the help and support you need and deserve.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also said; “It is okay to ask for help. If you or a loved one is in need: ask. Your whole city stands in support of you ready to answer the call.”
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress. It can be reached at 1-800-273-8255.