Raising Awareness of Law Enforcement Suicide Crisis, Nashua Police Chief Michael Carignan to Join Shaheen at State of the Union
**The Police Department Tragically Lost an Officer to Suicide Last Year**
(Washington, DC) – Today, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), the lead Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds the Department of Justice (DOJ), announced that she will be joined by Nashua Police Chief Michael Carignan for the President’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday, February 4 to raise awareness about the mental health challenges that many law enforcement and other first responders face as a result of the stress and trauma that they experience on the job. 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. 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.
“Captain Lehto’s family and the Nashua Police Department led by Chief Carignan have been courageously raising awareness of the needs of officers who are struggling with mental health,” said Shaheen. “Law enforcement officers are exposed to tremendous stress and trauma while protecting our communities, which has only been compounded by the substance use epidemic. I’m grateful that Chief Carignan will join me for the State of the Union address to help bring attention to this crisis facing police and first responders in New Hampshire and across the country. We need to do all we can to raise awareness of this issue, eliminate the stigma about discussing mental health, and make sure first responders have support and services. Congress and the Trump administration need to devote greater attention to this crisis and I intend to do all I can to get officers, police departments and all first responders the help they need.”
As the lead Democrat on the appropriations subcommittee that funds DOJ, Shaheen included language in the government funding bill that became law in December that requires 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 funds to improve mental health services for state and local law enforcement agencies, including resources to reduce stigmas around officers seeking mental health treatment and programs to assist officers in handling repeated exposure to stress and trauma while on the job.