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First Responders To Hold Mental Health Conference in Spokane Valley Next Month

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Suicide among first responders is a growing problem. That’s why police and fire agencies in Spokane and north Idaho today [Thursday] announced they’re sponsoring a mental health and wellness conference for first responders next month in Spokane Valley.

“Last year, in 2018, 167 police officers took their own lives by suicide. As of yesterday, in 2019, 155 police officers had taken their lives," said Spokane Police Officer Stacy Flynn, who says he has attended two conferences for first responders and felt it was time to share the message.

“I know there’s still that stigma of ‘suck it up,'" he said. "I started in 1992, so I’ve gone through all that. I think now somebody needs to carry the olive branch. There are several guys in our department who are out about it and say I’ll talk to anybody I need to.”

Flynn says the conference is open to police, firefighters, doctors, nurses, military veterans and other first responders and their spouses. It will be held October 21 and 22 at the Mirabeau Park Hotel in Spokane Valley. Contact the Spokane Police Chaplaincy Program for more information.