Law enforcement suicides in the United States have surpassed line of duty deaths in recent years. There have been 14 reported police suicides this month alone.
And for every police suicide, there are at least 1,000 police officers with post-traumatic stress, according to Badge of Life, a nonprofit focused on police suicide prevention. Unlike physical injuries, mental trauma for cops occurs “almost daily,” creating risk for the officers themselves as well as those with whom they interact.
In no department or agency is this mental health crisis more acute than at US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and its Border Patrol division. According to an internal government report obtained exclusively by Quartz, the rate of suicide at CBP is almost 28% higher than at any other law enforcement agency. From 2007 through Sept, 11, 2019, 115 CBP employees have died by suicide.
Yet, in the face of this growing problem, sources with knowledge of CBP’s efforts to address mental health told Quartz that the agency isn’t doing enough and, in fact, has fostered a culture where seeking help is not only discouraged but punished. This is worrying for both the officers the agency employs, and the often vulnerable migrants with whom those officers are required to interact.