New York City police officers to get free mental health care as department faces rise in officer suicides

New York City police officers to get free mental health care as department faces rise in officer suicides
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New York City police officers will soon be eligible to receive free counseling and mental health care as the department faces a rise in officer suicides.

NBC News reports the announcement, set to be made by New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio slams Bloomberg run for president: He 'epitomizes the status quo' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Washington braces for public impeachment hearings Trump NYC Veterans Day speech met with protests MORE (D) on Wednesday, comes after an off-duty sergeant became the 10th police officer in the department this year to die by suicide.

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New York City Police Commissioner James O'Neill called the series of deaths by suicide a "crisis” as the department deals with a rate of suicides this year double that of recent years, according to the news outlet.

"Ten officers killed themselves. How can I not regret that?" he said. "I was a cop for a long time, so I know what they face each and every day."

The department will be working with New York–Presbyterian Hospital and services will be free and confidential.

The program will connect officers with psychologists and psychiatrists from several medical centers across the city, NBC News noted.

"Our officers are supposed to be strong — that's what they've been told," de Blasio told the news outlet. "And a lot of times, the biggest challenge is for officers to know it's OK to need help yourself. You're always giving help to other people — you sometimes need to help yourself."

O'Neill added that the “stigma" is a reason the new program is anonymous. He said that New York–Presbyterian would maintain its records of officers it sees, not the police department.

"We'll just know the number of people that go through the program that are availing themselves of help," he said.

People experiencing suicidal thoughts or urges can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.