The media is full of stories about the suicide rate in the military. Less reported is the alarming suicide rate among police officers, according to the International EAP Association. The organization posted a recent article headilned: The perplexing silence of suicidal police officers.
More than 100 law enforcement officers commit suicide every year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The suicides are particularly difficult to predict, experts said, because officers have learned how to exhibit a tough exterior, and they are reluctant to seek help from behavioral health experts due to stigma associated with it.
“Externally, cops are tough critters. Internally, they have feelings,” Ron Clark, of nonprofit support group Badge of Life, told the newspaper. “They take pictures with their minds, and they go to some of the most god-awful scenes you could think of.”
There is some hopeful news, though, according to a study released in August in the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health. It showed that police suicides dropped from 143 in 2009 to 126 in 2012.
“This is encouraging news that we tentatively attribute to the increased number of departments adopting peer support programs and the increased willingness of officers, many of them younger, to seek professional assistance,” Badge of Life reported.
The average age of suicide victims was 42 and the average officer had 16 years on the job. Ninety-one percent were men and 63 percent of the victims were single. Eleven percent were military veterans.
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Optum Behavioral Health will implement the new DSM-5, along with the ICD-10 for claims starting Oct. 1, 2014, the company announced.
Optum, the behavioral health arm of UnitedHealth Group, said it will offer training to clinicians prior to the switch. Also, company officials posted a frequently asked questions page outlining the new DSM-5, the ICD, and the switch-over.
“The code sets are historically similar as DSM coding is based on the ICD code set,” Optum said.