R. N. Carleton and others
First published February 8, 2018
Substantial media attention has focused on suicide among Canadian Public Safety Personnel (PSP; e.g., correctional workers, dispatchers, firefighters, paramedics, police). The attention has raised significant concerns about the mental health impact of public safety service, as well as interest in the correlates for risk of suicide. There have only been two published studies assessing lifetime suicidal behaviors among Canadian PSP. The current study was designed to assess past-year and lifetime suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts amongst a large diverse sample of Canadian PSP. Estimates of suicidal ideation, plans, and attempts were derived from self-reported data from a nationally administered online survey. Participants included 5,148 PSP (33.4% women) grouped into six categories (i.e., Call Centre Operators/Dispatchers, Correctional Workers, Firefighters, Municipal/Provincial Police, Paramedics, Royal Canadian Mounted Police). Substantial proportions of participants reported past-year and lifetime suicidal ideation (10.1%, 27.8%), planning (4.1%, 13.3%), or attempts (0.4%, 4.6%). Women reported significantly more lifetime suicidal behaviors than men (ORs = 1.15 to 2.62). Significant differences were identified across PSP categories in reports of past-year and lifetime suicidal behaviors. The proportion of Canadian PSP reporting past-year and lifetime suicidal behaviors was substantial. The estimates for lifetime suicidal behaviors appear consistent with or higher than previously published international PSP estimates, and higher than reports from the general population. Municipal/Provincial Police reported the lowest frequency for past-year and lifetime suicidal behaviors, whereas Correctional Workers and Paramedics reported the highest. The results provide initial evidence that substantial portions of diverse Canadian PSP experience suicidal behaviors, therein warranting additional resources and research.
The research is here.