Here at Blue H.E.L.P., we aim to honor officers lost to suicide and support the families left behind, educate the public to bring awareness to mental health issues and reduce the stigma, lead in advocating for benefits for those suffering from post-traumatic stress, and prevent suicide in the law enforcement community. We don’t do all this alone! Thank you for helping to make Blue H.E.L.P. a national leader in suicide prevention and awareness. Our accomplishments are yours, too!. As such, I am proud to present…
To support families and departments who lost an officer to suicide this year, Blue H.E.L.P. shipped more than 200 Honor Boxes with personalized blankets. And while social distancing meant we couldn’t always meet in person, our Blue H.E.L.P. families met online to discuss challenges and offer each other support. Over the holidays, we hosted a Zoom Christmas dinner, with meals provided free to our families; and we surprised them with a Christmas ornament to honor their loved ones. Many thanks go to the Motorola Solutions Foundation, which awarded Blue H.E.L.P. $50,000—for the second year in a row—to host family retreats in 2021 for those who lost a officer to suicide.
Blue H.E.L.P. launched the Blue H.E.L.P. app to make it easier to submit suicides to us; and launched the #IWILLLISTEN campaign, which calls upon law enforcement to be open about issues of mental health. Blue H.E.L.P. also partnered with Motorola and the Gary Sinise Foundation to ship COVID-shutdown care packages of coffee, personal protective equipment, and mental health resources and materials to police departments and corrections facilities in March and April; packages were sent to 692 departments in the U.S. and the two departments in Canada that requested them.
Events and Outreach
When Police Week 2020 was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Blue H.E.L.P. quickly pivoted to offer virtual events, including a comedy show with Vinnie Montez and a live concert with David Bray, USA. Blue H.E.L.P.’s Karen Solomon and family members travelled to Los Angeles to film an episode of the Dr. Phil show focused on law enforcement suicide; Blue H.E.L.P.’s Steve Hough made a guest appearance on Oliver North’s Real American Heroes. In September, we traveled to Texas to announce our collaboration to build a park and monument devoted to first responders and veterans lost to suicide.
President Trump signed an executive order to establish the President’s Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice—the first commission on law enforcement in a half century. At the commission’s hearing on officer safety and wellness, Blue H.E.L.P. advocated for suicide awareness and support for those we serve. In 2019, we had September 26 officially registered as law enforcement suicide awareness day and it is now an annual event. Many governors issued proclamations to make it an official day in their state. In addition, in 2020 Blue H.E.L.P. endorsed legislation to: encourage mental health support and protect the privacy of law enforcement and first responders; ensure confidentiality of peer support counseling programs for law enforcement officers; authorize safety officer death benefits to officers suffering from PTSD and suicide; and enforce the law enforcement suicide date collection bill, which was signed into law in June. Blue H.E.L.P. also participated in a two-year National Officer Safety Initiative, the National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide, funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance.