Help police handle depression, urgently
News of police officers dying by suicide each passing day is not only frustrating but also worrying. These are not just officers, they are family members; they are fathers, friends and brothers. People in society look up to them for among other things inspiration, daily bread and support systems.
That they reached the end of their tethers and took their lives is sad and renders the question could the lives have been saved? Time and time again experts and those close to the victims say there were tell-tale signs that depression was getting the better of the victims. No one noticed or if someone did they did not know what to do.
Reports of police officers turning against their colleagues and family members have also been on the rise and have raised concerns about the status of mental health in the disciplined forces.
Just like any other profession, police officers are susceptible to tough and stressful work environments and their well-being should come first.
This issue should not be taken lightly and something needs to be done and fast to understand what exactly is happening.
Two days ago, three police officers, two attached to presidential escort unit, died by suicide and circumstances that led to the officers fatally shooting themselves were not clear.
As answers are sought, experts have cited psychological and mental challenges as a major contributor of increased suicide cases among officers.
Mental health issues call for collective efforts to tackle the underlying social pressures and support for the people in need of help. Going by the rising cases of death by suicide or attempts, it is urgent that modalities are put in place to raise awareness on this issue and promote measures that will reduce the number of such situations.
Even more devastating is the fact that a majority of police officers who die by suicide are youthful and leave behind very young families.
Promises by the Government that it will commit more resources to mental health and counselling for police officers should come to fruition now more than ever.
We should not continue losing our police officers in such a manner, the matter should be treated with the seriousness it deserves.
We need targeted interventions and proactive actions to address mental health care and treatment for police officers.
The country needs a healthy workforce and mental wellbeing should be prioritised.