ICYMI: Boston 25 – Shaheen Sounds the Alarm on Startling Increase of Suicides Among First Responders

February 26, 2020

ICYMI: Boston 25 – Shaheen Sounds the Alarm on Startling Increase of Suicides Among First Responders

Earlier this month, Shaheen authored an op-ed for Fox News to draw attention to the increase of suicide among first responders. 

Shaheen has made raising awareness of suicide among first responders a top priority and worked to have her provisions signed into law that require the Department of Justice to collect national data on law enforcement suicides and provide more funding for mental health services for state and local law enforcement agencies.

(Washington, DC) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) spoke with Boston 25’s Blair Miller about her efforts to raise awareness on the concerning increase of suicides among first responders.

A record number of U.S. law enforcement officers died by suicide last year according to Blue H.E.L.P., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that works to reduce mental health stigmas for police. Senator Shaheen has made raising awareness about the mental health challenges that law enforcement and first responders face as a result of the stress and trauma that they experience on the job a top priority. Last month, Shaheen brought Nashua Police Chief Michael Carignan for the President’s State of the Union Address. Following the tragic suicide of Nashua Police Captain Jon Lehto in September, Chief Carignan and Captain Lehto’s family bravely chose to shine a spotlight on the crisis of suicide among law enforcement and first responders. Senator Shaheen underscored the urgent need for more action and awareness in Washington in an op-ed for Fox News earlier this month: 

“It’s unreasonable to ask first responders to bear the heavy burdens of duty-induced trauma without the means to help them cope. It’s time for an honest conversation about what they experience and how to get them help,” said Shaheen in her Fox News op-ed.    

As the lead Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice, Shaheen included language in the government funding bill that became law in December that requires the DOJ to collect national data on law enforcement suicides. This change will help the law enforcement community, policymakers and the public better understand the scope of the issue and trends surrounding these tragic deaths. Shaheen also secured additional funding to improve mental health services for state and local law enforcement agencies.

View Senator Shaheen’s interview here or at Boston 25 News.