First responders more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty


SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA) — The Centers for Disease Control says suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. National Suicide Prevention Week aims to teach about the signs in people of all ages.

The Suicide Awareness Voices of Education organization says to look out for people who:

  • Talk about feeling hopeless or having no purpose
  • Sleep too much or too little
  • Withdraw from people they love
  • Increase alcohol or drug use

Velvet Shoults with Northwest Health said it’s important to ask for help when you need it.

“I encourage them to talk to someone,” Shoults said. “Talk to anyone that your comfortable talking to. Let them know what you’re struggling with, let them know if you have a plan.”

Recent studies show firefighters and police officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

While there are classes and other resources available, Shoults said first responders don’t always take advantage of them.

Captain Matt Bagley with the Springdale Fire Department said the education is more than necessary.

“No matter how much you keep a stoic face on scene to try to be the strong one, if they’re falling apart, you definitely can’t be the one to fall apart,” Captain Bagley said. ‘But I guarantee you, we go back to the station, we go back to our homes and it all comes falling apart because we care about the people in our community.”

If you or someone you know needs help, call the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255 or the Arkansas Crisis Center at 1-888-274-7472.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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