FAIRFAX, Va. (WDVM) — Ending the stigma around seeking and receiving help was the goal when Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler Jr. broke his silence about his fight against suicide.
On World Prevention Day, Chief Roessler broke his silence. He says it was about 9 years ago when he realized mentally he wasn’t okay. For years he admits that he sought professional help but no one in his department was aware. It wasn’t until two years ago when a detective died by suicide that he took a new initiative.
“It wasn’t until several suicides in our department took place and I realized that I need to tell my troops that it’s okay to not be okay and you’re not gonna lose your job if you seek professional help to get yourself well,” Chief Roessler said.
FCPD’s Incident Support Services Department now has two full-time psychologist and substance abuse staff members.
“Now the officers are routinely seeing clinicians on a regular basis and they don’t have to talk they’re given the opportunity to express what going on in their minds, in their personal lives what’s some of the things they’re struggling with if they choose not to they’re given ways to work through pressure and struggles in their life,” said Director of Incident Support Services, Jaysyn Carson.
“The data is showing after the first 5 years as an officer about 12 percent of them have developed work-related depression, but as you get into that 15 years mark it increases to 24 percent and as you get further into the career we’re almost as high as 30 percent,” Carson said.