NAMI Wisconsin would like to express our sympathy to the families, colleagues, and friends of the four US Capitol police officers who responded to the January 6th riots at the US Capitol and have died by suicide. Law enforcement and first responders often experience traumatic and stressful situations as part of their job, which can lead to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If untreated, PTSD, as well as many other mental illnesses, can lead to debilitating mental health outcomes including suicide. During Crisis Intervention Trainings (CIT) held by local coordinating teams across Wisconsin, we emphasize the need for first responder self-care, seeking professional support, and the need of department leadership to recognize and support officers as they cope with traumatic events that occur during their workday. Capitol Police Officer Harry Dunn said it well when he made the following statement: “I want to take this moment and speak to my fellow officers about the emotions they are continuing to experience from the events of January 6. There is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking professional counseling,” Dunn said. “What we all went through that day was traumatic, and if you are hurting, please take advantage of the counseling services that are available to us.”
If you or a loved one have contemplated suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.