9th NYPD cop commits suicide this year

Cattaraugus County Sheriff Tim Wickham explains preventing police suicides by shifting the "culture change" and addressing PTSD.
6:27 | 08/15/19

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Transcript for 9th NYPD cop commits suicide this year
We're gonna switch gears though. A horrible story that we do need to talk about here we are seeing a rise in suicides among the nation's. Most important. A group of individuals and that is our law enforcement we learned. Overnight another. Officer died by suicide in New York that is now nine officers. For the start of this year brings the number across the country. Rain Agassi the numbers up on your screen to over a 120. Deaths so far just in this year. Is he crazy crazy story we're and dive into right now we're joined right now by Luke bar he's a member of our justice team. Up right here in on the phone of the moment we're joined now by sheriff Tim wit come. From upstate New York I'm that is had to deal with this himself and travels the country lecturing about this important topic great to have both of you with us. Right now Luke let me start with you because we were going through the numbers earlier. They are just stacked. Get done they are staggering it's a real problem might talked law enforcement cross country that have said. It's a it's a problem it's only gonna get worse. Right now step as a bull this one it took 24%. Since last year and in just last week in Virginia three law enforcement officers took their life so it's a real problem that's an epidemic. And it's happening all over the country let's bring the sheriff in. Come on this conversation and sheriff I've learned a little bit. About your story you it dealt with this I mean I'm sure part is that the ten years ago. Your best friend. Took his own life. Yes certainly ten years ago this month August 18 2009903. AM received text masks. One of my best friends who was our sheriff at that time Dennis John advising me of what he was going to do and where he was. Added that day he died I made sheriff and part of my crusade for the last decade. Has been to trying to prevent this from happening on anybody else's watch. It is my belief that what we need to do is have a culture change but specifically addressing post traumatic stress disorder. And its incidence rate in law enforcement. It's been a long time aren't there are so culture has facilitated that if you have an injury to its emotional or psychological. That you put duct tape on it should you'll talk about it. And that's that's a mistake he. Because it's. Post traumatic stress disorder is the only disorder in the diagnostic statistical manual. Of mental disorders the DSM five out of 297 it's the only one that's caused by exposure. It's the only one that's 100% manageable the reason its 100% manageable is because it's an injury. Ironically one of our officers break their leg we know exactly how to take care of them to get them back to full duty but if that injuries emotional or psychological all the sudden we get Kiki. In the officers are stereotyped and they don't reach out for help because their fear of consequences or persecution. Within the agency or inability to promote and we need to make those stereotypes. Go away. And we'll EU concerning the numbers from around the country. What are we seen from different. I'm law enforcement organizations. In different jurisdictions right now what are they trained you for their officers will some some departments are different kind of some departments or of the progressive and attract provide mental health training. Counseling at some art and in this real stigma with this in the law enforcement community. As as he says he's had an in inn in its really growing. And an end to only get worse. So law enforcement. Officers and an agency there on the country are trying to prevent it. But but as the one justice from official told me. There's a stigma if you step snatch that sigma. You'll stabilized and sheriff back to you though on this because one of the things that you've done since you your friends passing. You've been traveling the country is a part of the talk to me post Tor talk to me about that what what what are you doing when you are going and speaking to some of your colleagues in law enforcement. Well smuggle the first off that there's an administrative culture change that needs to happen. The very minute that you put breasts on your collar or stripes on your sleeve and our culture. Part of your mission now becomes to protect and serve those that have chosen to protect and sir and there are actually two great programs that are. Are emerging out of New York State right now one is New York leak. Which is sponsored by Tommy shoveling and Jimmy banish any other one is talk to me post tour which I'm a board member. Feel free to investigate yourself TT and dot com talked to meet post tour dot com in it is. The advantage of talk to me post story it is it is the only. Anonymous program that exist to help law enforcement it is completely anonymous and it is done through social media online any virtual tunnel. That camouflage is the user's IP address so I were to answer it in speed. Beat two. In other specifically trained year officer which is what officers need because cops will talk to other cops they understand each other. The reason my lectures or silver is successful is because I spent twelve years on our tactical team I spent seven years working major crime I spent three years working mid nights. I have street credibility with the officers that I speak and I don't have been into letters after mining Ph.D. your anti but they'll listen to other cops talk to both store is specially trained law enforcement officers that are waiting on line. For officers to answer this system and talked to them it's not mental health therapy right. Debriefing. But if need therapy. They have the resources to send those officers in these officers can reach out and get there inching checked. Without any fear of repercussion or persecution would interagency because they're agency have no idea that they reached out. Sheriff thank you so very much I truly appreciate as you said it is the related building on irritable have look at officer there. It is really important. I don't just like that yet. They're very very quickly oh just like to add any of you that do go and investigate talked to people who were her. Or are dot com. Please please investigate the entire web site there are currently aggressively pursuing grant money. And there also was doing some private fundraising and great people like Raoul Felder who cared about first responders. Well thank you sir and we have up online right now the national suicide hotline for anyone that you know needs help. That number is a great resource and we do hope that you will use it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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