Officer suicides up nationwide, GJPD fighting back

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO/KJCT) -- A new report shows that nationwide, police officer suicides outnumber any other form of on-duty related deaths combined. That study was done by Blue H.E.L.P., a group that works to prevent officer suicides.

"This is big," Chief Doug Shoemaker of the Grand Junction Police Department, said. "This year alone we've had 28 police suicides across the country, and that's six more than the same time last year, so this is a growing problem, really a challenge."

The Grand Junction Police Department says they're well aware of the difficulties officers face when it comes to mental health, and actively work to make sure their employees have the right help.

"For a long time I think police officers are maybe hesitant to talk about the things that they face, or being willing to address those types of things, when in fact the opposite needs to happen," Shoemaker said.

Grand Junction specifically offers both a peer support program and employee counseling through the City. They recently got a grant to provide even more of those services.

"We see everything from suicides, to fatal car crashes and all kinds of things that the normal person doesn't have to go through," Shoemaker said. "That's very stressful to us and we have to be able to have some sort of outlet for that."

According to that study, there were at least five police officer suicides in Colorado last year.

For more information on Blue H.E.L.P. and this study check out the link to the right of this article.

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