NYPD tries to address suicide risk among officers

In an attempt to tackle a growing problem, the NYPD and the New York City Department of Investigation will now measure "officer wellness" during performance reviews.

In addition to mandatory mental health checks, other recommendations include: establishing a mental health and wellness policy, hiring additional mental health professionals and providing transitional training for officers approaching retirement.

This comes as the department grapples with a spike in officer suicides.

Nine NYPD officers have taken their own lives in 2019. The average for the past five years has been four to five suicides a year.

Two retired NYPD officers have also committed suicide this year.

The report is based on an anonymous survey of officers who retired in 2016. It says a quarter of cops admitted they had considered talking to a professional for trauma on the job. Most didn’t follow through, and many believed asking for help would have impacted their career.

The new efforts are in the hope of building a stronger police department both physically and mentally but the Police Benevolent Association is slamming the new requirement.

Patrick Lynch, the union’s president, says it’s the wrong approach.

"It gets the problem backwards: the bureaucratic second-guessing to which police officers are subjected is already a significant source of stress,"  Lynch says. "Adding more of it will not reduce that stress. The NYPD should remain focused on getting members the high-quality, professional treatment they need and ensuring that treatment does not needlessly derail their careers."