NewsLafayette Parish


Acadiana law enforcement remind others that help is available for mental health

Posted at 10:23 PM, Feb 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-02 23:23:06-05

The Acadiana law enforcement community is reminding one another that help is available after a deputy's suicide this week.

The Lafayette deputy took his own life Monday in his patrol unit outside the sheriff's office.

Earlier in the morning the deputy posted a number of videos to social media touching on a number of topics, including mental health for law enforcement.

Lafayette City Marshal Reggie Thomas says he is sympathetic and that the stigma for officers to not get help is a battle they continue to overcome.

Flags are flying at half-staff outside the Lafayette Parish Sheriff's Office in memory of one of their own who took their own life Monday.

"Way back years ago in law enforcement, counseling was unheard of," said Thomas. "You're weak if you go get help."

In mourning for his colleague on the thin blue line, Thomas says mental health is talked about now more than ever, but it's still not enough.

"A lot of officers are screaming for help. I say that because we have to communicate better. When an officer sees a problem, he has to contact administration and tell them, 'This is a friend of mine, and he is acting differently,'" explained Thomas.

Dealing with traumatic events is often part of the day-to-day routine in law enforcement. Therapist Leon Winters says that can have a lasting impact on an officer's mental health.

"It affects the brain in multiple areas," Winters said, "and that is really tough to deal with alone."

"In police work, a lot of times, police officers think they are tough. You have to realize that everybody needs somebody to talk to," added Thomas. "Nobody is too strong to not talk to someone."

According to, 176 officers died by suicide in 2020. This year that number is at 15.

If you're an officer in need of help, you can text 'Blue' to 741741. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out. Here are some hotlines you can call:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Suicide/Crisis Hotline: 1-800-437-0303

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