A PM commits suicide in the state of SP every 11 days – 04/15/2022 – Daily life

The large number of military police officers who took their own lives in recent years turned on the alert at the top of the Military Police of São Paulo. The corporation has released a suicide prevention manual for its agents. In 2021 alone, there were 34 suicides in the state, which gives an average of one case every 11 days.

Between 2015 and 2020, 137 military police officers who were on active duty committed suicide, according to the corporation’s Command, which generates an average of 22.8 occurrences per year. Another 4,729 were removed because of psychological problems in the same period. Today the Military Police has 176 PMs removed by psychiatry.

In Brazil, there are more than 11 thousand cases of suicide per year in society, according to data from the Ministry of Health. The national rate in 2018 was 6.3 per 100,000 inhabitants. According to a report by the Police Ombudsman of the State of São Paulo, in the PM, in the 2017/2018 biennium the average was 21.7 per year, considering an effective of 83 thousand police officers. Compared to the society average, police officers committed suicide three times more.

The increase in suicide cases among agents contrasts with the decrease in the number of PMs killed during off-duty and on duty last year.

The booklet has 38 pages. She was coordinated by Major Mario Kitswa, who is also a psychologist and has been with the corporation for 27 years. The launch was in April 2021, but the physical delivery will be made this year. There is an update in the version, since a new Psychological Support Center was established in this period. The version must include a WhatsApp number to contact the psychological clinic.

According to the major, suicide is understood as a complex, multifactorial, multicausal phenomenon. A number of circumstances are involved in this phenomenon. The idea of ​​the manual is to guide police officers on how to identify when a colleague needs help and how to act when faced with suicidal conversations.

“This manual, as well as campaigns that we carry out, with lectures, for the introduction of these subjects in the flow of information, are intended to serve as guidance. The idea is relatively simple, but with indications of the main risk factors, protection, and some basic guidelines for when the military policeman does the reading to understand a little more how to approach someone in a condition like this”, says the major.

For sociologist Dayse Miranda, a doctor in political science and a professor and researcher at Ippes (Institute for Research, Prevention and Studies on Suicide), the attitude of the São Paulo PM is “commendable” to promote relevant information, regardless of whether the person is in risk or not. But more is still needed.

“It is an important action to raise awareness of the problem, but it is not enough. It is necessary to go further, such as evaluating the work that the Military Police has been developing for over 20 years with the suicide prevention program. any type of evaluation, we don’t really know if it works”, says Dayse.

The São Paulo government created, in 2001, the Sismen (Mental Health System of the Military Police of the State of São Paulo). According to Kitswa, this system begins to act in the selection process, even before the individual enters the corporation.

“We have a stage within the public tender, which is the psychological exams. There, it is not intended to see illness, or to verify some psychopathology, but to understand the profile of that person, if it corresponds to the demands of this pressure.”

According to Kitswa, “the system is comprehensive. When it comes to preventing suicide, suicide demonstrations, it’s important that all activities work well, so that we can achieve the best possible results later on.”

Other states have also turned their attention to the mental health of police officers. In Bahia, the medical department of the Civil Police created, in August 2016, the Demep ao Seu Lado project, which aims to raise awareness of the importance of preventive care for health and well-being.

In 2019, 1,426 psychological consultations were carried out. The following year, 93 psychological consultations were registered in January, but there was a pause because of the pandemic. In 2021, there were 3,977 attendances.

In Rio Grande do Sul, the Military Brigade created the Anjos program, focused on suicide prevention and mental health promotion for the corporation. The program has a training course. Military personnel who participate in the course are trained to spread adequate knowledge about mental health among their colleagues, helping to reduce stigma in the corporation.

The first edition of the program took place in 2020, training 137 facilitators, as the police officers who took the course are called. Last year, the program had 178 students.

For Rafael Alcadipani, professor at FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas) and member of the Brazilian Forum on Public Security, the mental health of police officers is a very serious problem.

“One of the most serious problems in public security today is the mental health of police officers. We have expressive numbers of police officers’ suicides and also expressive numbers of police officers who commit acts of violence against their partners or partners”, says the professor.

“What we have are primers that are still futile in the face of the challenge of the problem. It needs an entire change in the PM, both in the logic of managing its police officers and in the logic of training its managers.”

Fernanda Cruz, from USP’s Center for the Study of Violence, sees the São Paulo PM manual as an initiative to raise awareness, but it should not be the only one. According to her, it is necessary to promote measures so that the police can strengthen other ties.

“Without a doubt, mental health care is essential, but it is not the only aspect that promotes health for the worker. have a reasonable work schedule so that you can sleep, have a coexistence with the family.”

The researcher also sees the consumption of alcohol and narcotics as a factor that weighs on the mental health of PMs, which, according to her, is not something treated the way it should be.

“This is a more taboo subject than suicide. It is more difficult to assume that the police officer uses drugs, uses alcohol in an abusive way. He presents himself as the guardian of society, so this puts him in a very vulnerable situation. take on this problem and commit to finding solutions for it.”

States and municipalities create programs for public servants

In addition to programs aimed at security agents, states and municipalities also have jobs to serve other public servants. Many of these programs have been boosted because of the pandemic.

Goiás, for example, has the PAS (Server Reception Program), which provides online psychological care for servers. From September 2020 to March this year, 306 calls were made.

Virtual service was also the alternative found by the City of Santos, on the coast of São Paulo, to serve its servers during the pandemic. Today the municipality has 183 employees on leave for reasons related to mental health.

“During 2021, we did a lot of online activities, with topics related to anxiety, depression and losses. Now, in 2022, we are intensifying some face-to-face work in health units”, says Carlos Mauá, coordinator of occupational medicine from Santos.


If you need psychological help, find it at:

Solidarity Support Network:

CVV (Life Appreciation Center)
Toll free: 188


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