Suicide Loss First Aid: How Police Officers Can Assist Suicide Survivors

There are approximately 40,000 reported suicides yearly in the United States, and the number of these deaths has increased in recent years.1 Police officers have contact with almost every suicide victim in their jurisdiction at some point, and, very likely, they interact with those most affected by these deaths. In 2011, 77 percent of the suicides documented by the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) occurred in or near the victim’s residence.2 This means that most suicide victims are found by family members or may have had family members who witnessed the death. Relating to those who were close to the victim of a suicide may be one of the most challenging duties that any officer faces, yet few officers receive any training for this task.