Border Patrol works to offer suicide prevention resources

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 5:12 PM CST
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LAREDO, TX. (KGNS) - This year brought several challenges for the Border Patrol agency including a record number of apprehensions which is something they say can affect their staff’s mental health.

According to Border Patrol’s national numbers, two agent-suicides were reported last week and a third suicide case was reported this week.

The federal agency believes these deaths are concerning; so far this year, a total of 10 suicides among BP staff have been reported nationally.

Border Patrol Chief Carl Landrum states this is something that the agency takes very seriously.

“In 2019 CBP hired Dr. Kent Corso, he is a suicidologist. So we have an actual suicidologist-clinician that works for us as the organization. He is one of 30 in the world,” said Landrum

Agents in the Laredo sector say the conversation surrounding mental health and specifically suicide has grown throughout the years.

This is something that Agent Aaron Reed said is welcomed by agents and their family members.

He has death with the heartbreak of a family member attempting suicide.

“I don’t think during that time, back then, we gave it the attention that it needed. So she continued to struggle through that process alone. I think today we have a lot more resources, it’s talked about a lot more,” said Reed.

The Border Patrol started tracking suicide numbers in 2007. Since then, it has reported 68 suicides nationally; four of which were in Laredo.

The most recent one being in 2011, Chief Carl Landrum said they take care of their agent’s mental health by offering resources.

Here in Laredo we’ve been fortunate over the past year that we actually have a clinician here on site, and she’s available. She knows all the employees, and she’s available to them whenever they need her assistance,” said Landrum.

Chief Landrum said the organization offers much more help such as peer support, chaplaincy program and resiliency programs as well as other health programs.

The program the agency is promoting right now is the ‘Be the One’ campaign.

“We literally try to inform everybody, so all of our employees, but all of their friends and family and the general public. Everybody across the board, that anybody can be the one to help in any of these situations,” said Landrum.

Landrum said the more information that is available, the more it can prevent suicides altogether.

If an agent is in need of help, they can call 988 to receive support.

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