Behind the blue shadow: a theoretical perspective for detecting police suicide.

School of Public Health and Health Professions, Department of Social and Preventive Medicine, State University of New York at Buffalo Buffalo, New York, USA.
International journal of emergency mental health 01/2012; 14(1):37-40.
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Police officers are at increased risk for suicide. Reluctance by this population to self-report suicidal thoughts requires detection on a different level. Based on existing theory, this paper discusses a possible alternative method for detecting suicidal tendencies among police officers: the suicide Implicit Association Test (IAT). The IAT measures the implicit strength of cognitive identification with death opposed to life. Previous work has demonstrated that a cognitive identification with death over life is associated with both suicide attempts and completions. The clinical application of implicit cognitions, along with other proven clinical measures, may be of value in detecting suicide ideation in police officers or other high suicide risk groups who are hesitant to explicitly report suicidal thoughts. More research is needed to help clarify the clinical usefulness of the IAT and its validity over time.