The New York Police Department suffered two shocking suicides in as many days last week in Brooklyn and Queens.
Assistant Chief Steven Silks, a 38-year member of the NYPD, took his own life on a Forest Hills street on June 5; he was mere days from a mandatory retirement from the force.
The next day in Brooklyn, Detective Joseph Calabrese of the Brooklyn South Homicide Squad also killed himself. According to reports, it happened a few hours after his wife had been hospitalized for a condition.
Some of us think of our first responders as real-life heroes there to protect us against the bad guys. Of course, the reality is that police officers are humans, not comic book characters. They grapple with both the everyday issues life brings us, but they are compounded by issues unique to their job.
They have seen crime scene horrors no one should see. They deal with high-pressure situations that could threaten someone’s life, or even their own. Some have dealt with the trauma of a close colleague being killed in the line of duty, while others have made tragic decisions that cannot be reversed.
We urge our police officers who are struggling with their mental health to seek the care they need. Don’t throw your families into undue suffering. It can get better.