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Sixth NYPD officer dies by suicide since start of June

For the eighth time this year, the New York City Police Department is mourning an officer who died by suicide.

The NYPD said it had lost “another officer to suicide” on Tuesday. It is the sixth since the beginning of June.

“To those who may be facing struggles — Help is always available, you are not alone,” the NYPD tweeted.

The post also contained phone numbers for people seeking help. New York Police Commissioner James O’Neill in June called the deaths “a mental health crisis.”

The name of the officer who died this week was not released. The Yonkers police department said in a statement Tuesday that it was investigating the death of an NYPD officer and that that the manner of death appeared to be self-inflicted. Officers responded to reported suicide about 3 a.m., police said.

“The Yonkers Police Department offers its sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of the deceased,” it said in the statement. Yonkers is north of New York City.

An NYPD officer arrives for a funeral service at the Church of St. Rosalie in Hampton Bays, New York.Drew Angerer / Getty Images file

In a survey conducted by NBC New York, 78 percent of police officers across the country reported experiencing critical stress on the job, with 68 percent saying that stress triggered unresolved emotional issues.

Additionally, 16 percent of officers said that they had thoughts of suicide.

O’Neill has urged members of the department to seek help if they need it and sent a note to all employees saying: “Before you can take care of others, it’s imperative that you first take care of yourselves. Seeking help is never a sign of weakness — it’s a sign of great strength,” the station reported.

The New York Police Department has around 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees.

NYPD Chief of Department Terence A. Monahan tweeted Tuesday that “The health & wellbeing of NY’s Finest is paramount to all members of the NYPD. As we mourn the tragic loss of another cop due to suicide, together we must send a message to every person who might be struggling. Please reach out for help — on the job or off. You’re never alone.”

The chief said on an WNYC radio program Tuesday morning that the department had averaged four or five deaths by suicide a year in recent years.

“Currently, this year we have eight suicides. That is a very large number,” Monahan said. “We wanted to make sure … to let our cops know, it’s all right to come and ask for help,” he said.

“Get the help. If you’re feeling that dark moment, get the help.”

He called the deaths “devastating” and said the department is looking to try to find out what’s driving the increase and what can be done to help. He said among the options the department is considering is peer counselors as well as hiring more counselor and psychologists.

“All I know is it’s something we need to talk about, that it has to be a national conversation,” Monahan said.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text HOME to 741741 or visit SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.

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