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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- Friday marked not only the one-year anniversary of the suicide of West Virginia State Trooper Marlo Gonzales, but an ongoing discussion about preventing such tragedies.
Gonzales' death focused attention toward a topic that often comes with a stigma -- mental health issues. It even prompted Gov. Joe Manchin to form a committee to examine whether or not suicides are a problem within the state's police agency.
Committee members found the current system was adequate, but they said there was room for improvement. It started with changing the culture of the agency.
Being a state trooper is filled with stress and danger, with very little time to relax. Officers also tend to keep their feelings to themselves. Corporal Gonzales' suicide helped bring this problem to the forefront.
One year later, four out of seven recommendations have been put into action, including training to identify troubled troopers and a review of the agency's health policy.
Another fight is ongoing -- ending the culture of silence when it comes to mental health.
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