Suicide and suicide ideations are problematic for first responders, but there is little research about this trend. The need for more examination on what might be the cause of this fact is evident. What research is out there, needs to be utilized more extensively by law enforcement agencies to help combat this problem in first responders.
Comments: This paper investigates why there are a great number of law enforcement officers who may have suicidal tendencies and what may be the cause. This study identifies some of the possible causes but needs more variance in the subjects who were tested.
Review of Literature
The authors cited many references of note to further look into this phenomenon. The studies that were documented in the paper gave some statistics, but there is a need for more substance and comparisons.
The tests that were conducted in this research, were comparisons to the general population. This research could be a start to further studies about work and home environments, and its effects on psychological health, especially among first responders.
Comments: The study was on the exposure to scenes of violence and suicides that law enforcement officers were involved with and their effects on them. Another factor in the study could have been suicides among other officers and those affects on the law enforcement officers.
This study was explicitly about how scenes of violence and devastation and how they may affect the psychological state of first responders. Specifically, suicides calls.
Comment: The intentions were to answer the question of the psychological effects of suicide calls on law enforcement officers. There were still more inquiries to be countered to help clarify this problem.
This study used a “snowball” sampling and was an electronic survey sent to local and national contacts of the authors of this study. Several organizations as well as law enforcement organizations were initial contacts. This study was approved by the University of Kentucky IRB. Consent forms were used, and the study was performed from January to April 2017.
Comments: The methods used to gather the data were explained. Compared to the number of law enforcement officers in the United States, the sample of 812 seemed inadequate, possibly due to the cautious nature in divulging such information among those in this profession.
Self-reported data was used to construct the tables that were used to provide information and described some of the demographics of the participants and the contradiction symptom attributes of respondents.
Hypothesis one: A table listing the attributes of the LEO participants indicated that most were male Caucasians ages 22-76, the preponderance of which were married with children with the majority being non-military.
Hypothesis two: Dichotomous Symptom Characteristics showed that exposure to traumatic scenes, suicides, presence of suicidal ideation, likely diagnosis for anxiety disorder, depression symptoms and anxiety symptoms were connected to escalations in Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
Hypothesis three: Symptoms Associated with Persistence of Scene Imagery indicated that moderately under one half of the respondents reported that one scene stays with them and one fifth reported that they could not shake that scene or that they had nightmares about it.
Comment: The conclusions in the tables were structured and had good justifications and would be easily interpreted.
Law enforcement officers respond to an average of 30 suicide calls within the lifetime of their profession in law. Only twenty five percent ever shoot their duty weapon in response to a call, they receive substantial training to maintain that ability, yet they receive little to no counseling regarding how suicide exposure may affect them individually and or professionally. This study has revealed considerable statistical relation between exposure to suicides and its effect on the psychological health of a law enforcement officer.
Suppositions and effects of this study were prepared with those who are, or were, in the law enforcement field. Some who were comparatively new recruits (age 22) to those who were retired (age 76). Several questions about the exposure to traumatic calls were answered, specifically as it may relate to suicide calls and scenes. 812 officers replied to the survey. The majority were male Caucasian. There have been preceding studies that have showed a correlation between exposure to suicide calls and or scenes and the effect on psychological health.
Comments: The conclusions of this research were based on the outcomes of a snowball survey performed by the authors team. It was discovered that due to the great amount of exposure, both personally and professionally, there is a significant need for improvement of the effects of these multiple traumas on their psychological health.
Additional studies are needed for this trend, as it is not an issue that is readily investigated. This group of participants, specifically law enforcement officers tend to be reluctant to speak out about the affects of suicide on their psychological health. Further studies that take into consideration more minority and female participants and how they may be parallel or divergent. Investigation on how, and if suicide among colleagues may affect this topic, would be advantageous. Researches on how intervention has played a part on this subject would also be beneficial to resolving this phenomenon.
Comments: A larger, more diverse pool of subjects would bring further insight on this topic.