PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- Saturday was Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day, a reminder of the hidden pain behind the badge.
Governor Doug Ducey issued a proclamation to recognize this day. According to Blue H.E.L.P, 125 officers have committed suicide in 2020 across the country.
In Arizona, the Flagstaff Police Department is dealing with the loss of one of their brothers. Officer Jarrett Shughart took his own life. Eighteen months before that, another Flagstaff PD officer took their own life, Officer Daniel Beckwith.
"There are a lot of stressors out there; they are put under a lot of pressure to make sure they're always doing the right thing. We have to remember as a society that these are real people behind the badge," said 100 Club of Arizona President and CEO Angela Harrolle. With the help of 100 Club of Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey officially recognized September 26 as Law Enforcement Suicide Awareness Day.
"My hope is that starts the conversation, starts the conversation that removes the stigma, removes the shame...removes the expectation that they are superhuman at some level," said Harrolle.
So how do we reverse course? Valley first responder psychologist and founder of BluePaz, Dr. Dara Rampersad, said it all starts with trust inside police departments.
"That initial trust is a barrier because they say 'If I reach out for help, will I be chastised by my peers that think I'm not emotionally stable? Will I be put on light duty? Will they take me off of my duty cause they think I'm not fit to do my job.'", said Dr. Rampersad.
If you're struggling, please call the 24-hour confidential public safety officer support: 1-800-273-8255. The 100 Club of Arizona has resources on their website, click here.