To jumpstart some positive press amongst recent publicized killings, police officers have been posting videos on social media this year of themselves saving people from suicide attempts. But mental health advocates say they may be doing more harm than good.
Only weeks after one Los Angeles woman’s suicide attempt, police posted a nerve-wracking video of her hanging off a bridge, officers pulling her to safety, then clinking handcuffs around her. Other posts detail how many pills someone ingested, or their address. They’re not using content warnings, either!
They’re doing exactly what mental health professionals say NOT to do.
Black youth’s suicide rates have increased 71% in a decade. Experts believe these posts “may actually deter viewers from calling 911” because they don’t want to be arrested. Many departments don’t even ask the survivor for permission to upload these videos!
This is how we know police care more about how the public perceives them than actually keeping the public safe: while they boast about their “acts of kindness” online, their benevolence is strategic and fake. We need actual kindness in our communities, not exploitation of our pain.