Its about time we start talking out loud on this for those who have lost a friend to suicide, we all missed the warning signs. Remember having each others 6 is just not during working hours on patrol. Just like our profession its 24-7 be there for each other !
A hard topic, but one that needs to be addressed not only by ourselves, but also the administrations. Admins need to be aware and take action too.
Officers spent a large amount of time preparing their bodies by working out, training, driving, shooting, fighting....but how much time is spend conditioning the mind and paying attention to mental health? Not too much unfortunately.
The really, really hard part is seeing a questionable sign and doing something about it. Probably 9 out of 10 questionable signs are not serious - but the rare one that is serious could result in a loss of life. The big question "Do you risk insulting the person." We all need training on handling this question.
Great topic! Everyone needs regular training on this. Two points I would like to make as a 20 year old member and being an instructor in Road to Mental Readiness.
1)The person that is most likely to notice a change in mood, behavior, life style etc. is the working partner that rides around with that person in the patrol car for 10 or 12 hours every shift, week after week. They often know that person better than their own family does, so have those open discussions and questions.
2)It can seem intimidating or at a risk to come right out and ask a person, "you seem to be in a real dark place right now, have things gotten so bad you are thinking of taking your own life?" However, I have never experienced it go wrong. Either the person will say yes and you get them some help. If they say no, they will just correct you, it usually doesn't offend them at all.
Just my thoughts, keep safe and keep each other healthy!