NYPD gets new partner in police officer suicide prevention

Billie Rama
October 24, 2019 - 2:34 pm
Mayor de Blasio discusses 'Finest Care Program'

Sonia Rincon

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NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- In an effort to prevent suicides, a hospital will provide special help for New York City police officers in crisis.

Too many times this year, NYPD officers have given in to despair and taken their own lives.

The NYPD now has a new partner in suicide prevention: New York-Presbyterian Hospital.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, whose own father died by suicide, made a direct appeal to police officers who may be struggling. "You've made this the safest big city in America and the people in this city are grateful and we need to be there for you," de Blasio said Thursday.

The "Finest Care Program" is adding to existing mental health resources for police officers by connecting cops directly with mental health professions at New York-Presbyterian, 1010 WINS' Sonia Rincon reported.

Dr. Jonathan Wilner said they are ready to deal with police-specific topics and any questions or fears a cop might have about losing his or her gun or shield for seeking help -- which holds some back, Rincon reported.

"If you're unsure whether to call, whether your problem is too big or possibly too small to call  --  call anyway," Wilner said.

The program is confidential and the city is spending more than a million dollars on the program to keep it free, Rincon reported.

Ten NYPD officers have died by suicide this year.

However, this isn't just a concern in New York.

A new report from the Police Executive Research Forum notes that more law enforcement officers, nationwide, have died this year by their own hand than in the line of duty.

And the report recommends a review of policies on when a department should take away a cop's gun.

Chuck Wexler, executive director of the Think Tank, said there are risks in taking guns and risks in not taking them. He says the real question is, How do you support police officers without stigmatizing them?"

The report recommends that psychologists be involved in any decision to remove an officer's gun.

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