CHI St. Vincent, Garland County Sheriff's Department Partner to Help Prevent Law Enforcement Officer Suicide
HOT SPRINGS (Aug. 9, 2017) -- CHI St. Vincent and the Garland County Sheriff’s Office announced today the release of a new public service announcement designed to prevent suicides by law enforcement officers.
The PSA is one outcome of an ongoing collaborative effort between CHI St. Vincent and the Garland County Sheriff’s Department to reduce the rates of suicide, attempted suicide and substance abuse in and around Hot Springs. The video will be made available free of charge to broadcast stations and law enforcement agencies across the country.
“Our law enforcement officers and first responders are truly heroes, but sometimes we forget they’re not invincible,” said Anthony Houston, president of CHI St. Vincent Hot Springs. “We want them to know that there are resources available to help them when they’re struggling, or in times of crisis. We are a ministry that serves the community, and we see suicide and violence prevention efforts as one way CHI St. Vincent can be of service to others.”
Last year, 108 U.S. law enforcement officers took their own lives. More officers died by suicide in 2016 than were killed in the line of duty by gunfire or auto accidents combined.
CHI St. Vincent, through a grant from its parent organization, Catholic Health Initiatives, funded the PSA. Susie Reece, a violence prevention specialist whose salary is funded by the grant, works tirelessly to increase suicide awareness and find innovative strategies for suicide and violence prevention.
The PSA features Garland County Undersheriff Jason Lawrence encouraging law enforcement officers to take suicide prevention efforts seriously. He directly asks law enforcement administrations to foster open dialogue about mental illness with their employees.
“This PSA was especially intended to be a message from law enforcement to law enforcement,” said Garland County Sheriff Mike McCormick. “We cannot overlook the staggering statistics associated with officer suicides, and it will take a united effort among all of us in law enforcement to make a difference. We all took oaths to protect citizens. We need to be better about protecting each other.”
The PSA was produced by Todd Marchese of Hot Springs. It features actors from the Garland County Sheriff’s Department, LifeNet EMS, the Garland County Coroner’s Office, the Piney Fire Department and other local volunteers.
To view the PSA, visit https://youtu.be/cQLyXf7c-Zw