Commission addresses mental health after suicide surge among CPD officers
CHICAGO — A sight so familiar that it became a procession of honor for a fallen Chicago police officer.
Patricia Swank killed herself in July after working 22 straight days, leaving her 5-year-old son among other family members. is part of
“The mayor’s office recognizes the urgent need,” said Elena Gottreich, Chicago’s deputy mayor for public safety. Gottreich was part of a city council committee hearing Thursday called to address the mental health of first responders after a spike in suicides earlier this spring and summer.
Dr. Robert Sobo, CPD’s head of employee assistance programs, said each police station has a peace room as part of an ongoing effort to improve mental health both on and off the job. . This room provides a space for officers to unwind during the day or before heading home.
Each of the city’s 22 police districts will have its own licensed therapist. Sobo explained the potential impact on officers.
“As a partner and part of the specific culture of the district, I am not just ‘Rob’, but someone you can call. I am someone you know and trust. ‘ he said.
Aldo. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (Ward 35) believes CPD can do a better job of dispelling inaccuracies about his EAP program. For example, the number of counseling sessions is limited, and a police officer who expresses mental health concerns may have his FOID card revoked and dismissed.
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“I heard it so often that I actually believed it was CPD policy,” the alderman said.
But Gottreich says that was never the case.
Holidays and vacation cancellations are something old. Ray Lopez (15th Ward) sees it as a lingering problem for the city’s police department.
“Do you think it’s affecting their mental health,” Lopez asked.
CPD’s Tine Skahill, who is in charge of policing and reforming the constitution, couldn’t give a clear answer.
“This is a very complex problem, and I think focusing on one factor might be oversimplifying it,” says Skahill. “What affects one person may not affect another.”
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In May, the city council unanimously approved an ordinance that would provide work-related benefits to police officers and firefighters who committed suicide as work-related deaths. provide funding.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, resources are available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website or by calling 988.
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