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Smash the Stigma - Suicide Prevention for First Responders

December 31, 2019

First responders are at a higher risk of suicide than almost all other professions.

  • In 2018, 106 police officers died in the line of duty
  • In 2018, 159 police officers committed suicide
  • As of August of 2019, this year’s number was 134
  • Firefighter suicides in 2018 exceeded on duty deaths for the fifth year in a row.

The City of Pflugerville Police Department created the following video to Smash the Stigma related to first responder mental health. Pflugerville PD was recognized for its efforts at the 2019 First Responders Bowl in Dallas. 


In an occupation that extols bravery and a bulletproof mentality, there often is shame and stigma for first responders to report the difficulties they face, in being human.

Very few departments have formal suicide prevention programs, but if we are to smash the stigma:

  • Departments must develop employee wellness policies.
  • Training must include the recognition of the signs and symptoms of acute and chronic trauma, substance use and risk of suicide.
  • Early warning systems must be in place to identify those in need of help as soon as possible.
  • The stigma of self-reporting or reporting of others must be removed.

Special thanks to Pflugerville PD for providing the video..

This information was provided through VINCIBLE, a program established by the Texas Police Chief’s Association and committed to officer safety and well-being. Law enforcement personnel can sign up for VINCIBLE weekly roll calls at

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