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Helping NYPD Officers Cope

The suicide of an NYPD lieutenant involved in the death of a mentally ill man raises questions about how officers cope with stress.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Posters around NYPD headquarters warn that suicide is all too frequent among officers, and that those who need help should call a hotline, offered by a police support group.

There's a widespread perception that cops are more prone to take their own lives, due in part to 1990s research that gave too much weight to statistical anomalies and examined too few datasets.

But in a 2002 study, the most exhaustive one to date, a Cornell University psychiatrist found that in New York City, at least, the suicide rate was slightly lower than the general population over a 20-year period.

A recent study by NYU credited the police department and a private non-profit support organization with generally reducing stress through peer-to-peer counseling.

For WNYC, I’m Fred Mogul.

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