Why Is Suicide Such a Problem in the TSA?

Why Is Suicide Such a Problem in the TSA?
Jennifer Billock

There’s a suicide epidemic happening within the Transportation Security Administration, causing between five and 15 suicides among employees every year, and about 500 more unreported attempts at suicide across the agency annually. Now, the Administration is putting together a prevention program to stop them.

In February, Transportation Security Administration (TSA) employee Robert Henry very publicly committed suicide on the job at Orlando International Airport. That incident sparked a wave of action at the TSA. “The most recent workplace suicide of a transportation security officer (TSO) plunging to his death inside Orlando International Airport shocked the agency, and together with the accompanying media coverage alerted the agency to the growing, disturbing national public-health crisis,” the TSA said in a proposal, reported by WMFE, discussing a new suicide prevention program for employees.

Henry’s death uncovered a history of bullying and harassment on the job at the Orlando International Airport, something he alluded to in his final email to friends: “Tell my managers I’ll be waiting for them in Hell.”

Now, the TSA is working to prevent any more deaths like this. “To improve the resiliency of the TSA workforce and reduce security risks associated with suicidal employees, the TSA Administrator has elevated suicide prevention training to a priority senior leadership goal in his 2019-20 ‘Administrator’s Intent’ directive,” the document said, reported by WMFE.

TSA officials declined to speak with WMFE about the proposal.


[Featured Image: TSA]

View Comments (3)


  1. Boggie Dog

    September 19, 2019 at 2:01 pm

    Are suicides in TSA any greater than the population at large?

    Might have to do with realizing that this is all I’ll ever be.

  2. topman

    September 19, 2019 at 5:21 pm

    Jobs with the highest rates of suicide per occupation:
    Farming, fishing and forestry: 84.5 per 100,000.
    Construction and extraction: 53.3 per 100,000.
    Installation, maintenance and repair: 47.9 per 100,000.

  3. SamirD

    September 20, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    That explains the bullying a-hole attitude I got when transporting a completely acceptable tool through security a sfo. The tsa guy seem liked he wanted my tool, made sure that he was giving me the ‘f-u it’s mine’ attitude and his supervisor backed him up. I had measured the tool prior to the flight and this was my return flight so it already was checked and passed at the origin. I left the security checkpoint as I wasn’t getting on the flight without my legit stuff.

    Time to just let the military reserve start doing this job like in other countries. I’d feel safer with a trained soldier with a machine gun than some clowns that care more about their weekend and their cell phone than what their job truly entails–not to say all or even most are like this, but I’ve seen my fair share of them.

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