CPD supp. Brown says the department’s mental health is a top priority following the suicide of a third Chicago police officer this month.

CHICAGO (WLS) – In July, three Chicago police officers committed suicide, prompting the department to once again increase support for and awareness of law enforcement officers about mental health services.

CPD Superintendent David Brown said at a press conference on Monday that the mental health of officers is a top priority for the department, especially when, he said, policing has never been so difficult.

“This is such a difficult situation for the Chicago Police Department,” Brown said.

Brown said he is working to remove the stigma associated with seeking mental health care in the department, both before and during the crisis.

“Stigma, even when talking to someone in our profession, is a challenge,” Brown said. “Many officers see this as a sign of weakness.”

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The most recent death came just a day after another A traffic police officer was found dead in his home as a result of suicide and in a few weeks Officer Patsy Swank commits suicide.

“She was the most beautiful person, just fun, compassionate,” her brother Ryan Clancy said. “She was always there for everyone else. She cared for the people she loved and went out of her way to protect and serve other people.”

Clancy, like other family members of officers who have committed suicide, said one of the biggest problems they face in terms of their mental health is overwork.

“This is a crisis,” he said. “I think there are places where you can get help, but when you overload these people, they don’t have days off, long hours; don’t really have time to talk to anyone.”

Giulia Trollya, wife of the late of. Jeff Trolla, who committed suicide in 2021, agreed.

“We have resources for them, but they can’t use them because they are constantly working. Stop canceling holidays,” she said. “They’ve been pushed to the limit, and now they’re all cornered.”

Trolla also said that the stigma of asking for help is exacerbated for officers when they are not given time to take care of themselves.

The identity of the third officer has not yet been released.

“We ask that the city embrace this sergeant’s loved ones as they mourn his loss. Please also take a moment to pray for the CPD men and women who are grieving with this sergeant’s family,” the department said in a statement. .

“It’s very heartbreaking to realize that an officer was under so much stress, so depressed, that they felt the only way out was to kill themselves,” said Jamei Nellum-Fein, a former CPD officer.

After serving 16 years with the Chicago Police Department before retiring in April, Nellum-Fein said the emotional stress of being a police officer had become overwhelming.

weekend canceledand then we have to be real – the stress that our officers experience when responding to calls – a man with a gun, a man is shot, domestic beating, child abuse, sexual abuse,” she said.

She said the stress partly led to her retirement.

“I went through that dark period dealing with depression, PTSD, PTSD. It was too much. It was overbearing,” Nellum-Fein said.

“We can always take better care of our brothers and sisters by trying to pay attention to possible moments of crisis in which we can intervene,” John Catanzar, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement.

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Both the FOP president and Nellum-Fein agree that more can be done.

“I think they should be more creative and actually assign maybe counselors, social workers, to real areas anyway,” Nellum-Fein said.

In response to a tweet from the Chicago Police Department on Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded:

“Please know that we hear you and are working tirelessly to lighten the mental and physical burden of our police officers.”

If you are suicidal or worried about someone you know, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 988. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by TALKing to 741741.

For more information visit Suicide preventionlifeline.org.

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