Is a Correctional Officer in Your Life Considering Suicide? The Need to Talk about It Now
World Suicide Prevention Day happens on September 10th, and for correctional officers and their families, it is a day that highlights a deadly and prevalent issue among COs.
According to studies, on average, correctional officers will not live past the age of 58, and a large part of that is due to the fact that correctional officers as a group experience rates of suicide that are twice as high as the general population. Many will experience post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their exposure to verbal abuse, threat of harm, and trauma. Too often, the symptoms will go unnoticed and untreated, resulting in suicidal attempts or completion.
If you are concerned about a correctional officer in your life, here is what you need to know.
Signs of Suicide
Rarely is it the case that a suicide truly comes out of nowhere, especially among correctional officers who likely commit the act out of a desperate attempt to escape pervasive, untreated mental health symptoms and trauma. It is recommended that family members and friends keep an eye out for any of the following signs of suicide in order to intervene:
· Isolating oneself from others
· Expressing joylessness or hopelessness
· Low energy and a lack of motivation to do things that were once enjoyed
· Talking about suicide or death frequently
· Making a will or giving away prized items
· Engaging in reckless behavior, including heavy drug and/or alcohol use
Take a Minute, Change a Life
The theme for this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day is “Take a Minute, Change a Life,” a reminder that the simple act of paying attention to someone who is in crisis can be enough to help them connect with lifesaving treatment services.
Broaching a conversation about suicide may not be easy, but ultimately, if it results in letting someone know you care about them and are concerned about them, it can be a relief for both of you. Keeping communication lines open, even if the individual says they are not in crisis, means that they can always come to you later if they want to talk about the challenges they are facing.
If you see the signs of suicidal thoughts or behaviors in someone you care about, do not wait to talk about the problem and help them connect with treatment. At American Addiction Centers, we offer a First Responder Lifeline program that can help correctional officers who are struggling to get the mental health and addiction treatment they need and also assist them in addressing the underlying trauma that may be contributing to their suicidal thoughts and actions. Our unique program includes:
· Treatment plans designed to meet the needs of correctional officers
· PTSD and trauma assessment
· Co-occurring treatment for mental health disorders and addiction disorders
· Family education and support
· EAP/MAP interactivity
· Assistance making the move back into the workplace
How can American Addiction Center’s First Responder Lifeline program help you and your family? Call 1–844–646–4COS(267) now to get the answers you need.