No Treatment Sought In 90% Of Houston Cop Suicide Cases


This month, a Houston police officer put a gun to his head and killed himself. The suicide, the fourth by an officer this year and the 42nd since the department began keeping records in 1971, is evidence of the challenge the department’s Psychological Services Unit faces, says the Houston Chronicle. “It reminds us that suicide is still a serious issue,” said Dr. Verdi Lethermon, director of the center since 2005. “And we’re more committed to improving the mechanism that would get them here.”

Ninety percent of the 33 officers who committed suicide since 1979 did not seek help at the city-funded unit, an indication of the aversion officers have to seeking psychiatric help. “There’s still a huge stigma we have to overcome about coming to this office to get treatment,” said Lethermon, a clinical psychologist. “Officers are very worried, and to some degree fearful, that their job security might be in jeopardy and their fellow officer might think less of them. We reassure them about the confidentiality and emphasize it takes courage to come to counseling.”

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