Agency-offered and officer-utilized suicide prevention and wellness programs: A national study.

Megan A. Thoen, L. Ethan Dodson, Gabriela Manzo, Brandy Piña-Watson, Elizabeth Trejos-Castillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Limited research exists in the area of police mental wellness and suicide prevention, especially regarding programs utilized by these agencies. The purpose of this project was to gain a better understanding of the prevalence of use of police officer wellness promotion and suicide prevention programs implemented in the United States and an understanding of the perceptions of program effectiveness (Part A). We also sought to determine whether differences exist in the mental wellness and perspectives of programming of officers from agencies who utilize suicide prevention and wellness programs compared to those agencies who do not (Part B). Data for Part A was collected directly from agencies via a stratified random sample of city police departments and sheriff’s offices nationwide. Part B entailed completion of online surveys by individual officers from agencies participating in Part A. The final sample included 55 agencies for Part A and 144 officers for Part B. At the agency level (Part A), Employee Assistance Programs or counseling services were the most common programs offered, and, notably, planning for programming was inconsistent or not well established. At the officer level (Part B), almost 25% of respondents did not know whether their agency had programming; 35% did not feel their agency supports its officers’ mental wellness. For officers who did feel their wellness was supported, they reported significantly less stress and higher overall well-being. Of officer respondents, 12.4% indicated it was either “quite” or “very likely” they would attempt suicide someday. Implications and suggestions for law enforcement agencies are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-140
Number of pages12
JournalPsychological services
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020


  • law enforcement
  • police
  • programming
  • suicide prevention
  • well-being


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