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Bank the Blue Provides Life-Saving Mental Health Services for Law Enforcement

It’s no secret that working in law enforcement is one of the most dangerous professions in the world. You could get shot at, chased down, or any other number of horrific brutalities. Not only is the toll that this takes on officers’ physical bodies extensive, but the toll that it takes on their mental health is huge. In just the first three months of 2024, at least 163 police officers committed suicide in the United States—and that doesn’t count retired officers, who still must deal with the effects of trauma long after they hang up their badge.

Kelly Krauchun, who worked as an attorney representing officers from various law enforcement agencies in criminal and administrative proceedings, knows this all too well.

“I started noticing a common thread that a lot of times these officers were suffering from not getting appropriate mental health treatment or any mental health treatment because of fear,” Krauchun said.

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This became clearer than ever in 2019, when Krauchun represented an officer she had become close with. He was suspended from duty, and a year later, the department decided to bring charges against him again, this time seeking a termination.

“He had reached out for help through his department, and he called me—I just couldn’t understand,” Krauchun explained. “I said not to worry, we would take care of it, but the next morning we got a call that he had taken his life the night before.”

Soon after, Krauchun was introduced to Anthony Varchetto, a former Chicago Police Department sergeant who owns Blue Star Security, a firm that only hires current or former police officers. In 2019 alone, four of his employees had taken their lives.

“We all knew what the common problem was here, and we needed to do something about it,” Krauchun said.

As luck would have it, the COVID-19 pandemic closed the courts, so in 2020, Krauchun and Varchetto, along with Karmin Daniel, Jeffrey Salvetti, and Daniel Herbert, came together to create Bank the Blue.

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“When we started, we didn’t know what we were doing; we just wanted to figure out some way to support officers,” Krauchun said. “At the time, officers didn’t have enough PPE equipment so we were making hand sanitizer and dropping off masks to police districts across the city. We ended up meeting clinicians who only treat first responders, and the majority of them were former first responders, so they understood the culture, and that was something that was really important to us. One officer had previously told me he had seen a therapist but they didn’t understand what he did for a living, so he didn’t see how they could help him. So, finding clinicians who understand the profession was important for us.”

Four years later, more than forty-five officers have been able to receive completely confidential mental health treatment for no cost at all.

Dr. Olivia Johnson brings her Fatal 10 training to a North Suburban Chicago Task Force in December 2022.

In November 2022 Bank the Blue added Dr. Olivia Johnson to the team. She conducted extensive research on the warning signs police officers might exhibit before committing suicide—a list she calls the Fatal 10.

The organization created a course around Dr. Johnson’s Fatal 10 called their Officer Wellness Program, which they updated in 2024 to include training on financial wellness and legal planning, as those issues are also attributed to mental stress for officers. Bank the Blue presents the course for free at police departments across Illinois with hopes to continue expanding.

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“The thing I really like about the program is that it’s proactive rather than reactive,” Krauchun said.

Bank the Blue Ambassadors Lisa Forde and Dory Ahearn pose with officers at a roll call visit.

Bank the Blue also has a group of retired law enforcement officers who they have trained as ambassadors that make roll call visits to police departments across the state. They meet with officers and share information about the services Bank the Blue offers so they can take advantage of its programs.

The key to all of these services, Krauchun says, is that they’re completely confidential, so officers don’t fear repercussions for admitting they’re struggling with their mental health.

“We really safeguard officers’ privacy—even I don’t know who’s being treated,” Krauchun explained. “A lot of the larger police agencies do offer mental health services but they’re being treated essentially by their employer, and that’s not comfortable—especially for someone who carries a weapon as a part of their job.”

Patrick Walsh, manager of ORC investigations for Kroger, was invited to serve as treasurer on Bank the Blue’s Board of Directors early in 2020 and continued serving in that role for three years. He grew up in a law enforcement family and had seen firsthand the stigma associated with police officers asking for help from their own agencies.

“On New Year’s Day of 2019 a dear friend of mine, Chicago Police Officer Dane Smith, badge #10250, tragically took his own life,” Walsh said. “I was looking for a way to get involved and help, so when the organization’s founders asked me to be a part of Bank the Blue, it was a no-brainer and I jumped at the opportunity.

“The work that Bank the Blue is doing is truly impactful and needed, especially in Chicago. Having healthy police officers in our communities impacts all aspects of life and society, including the retail industry.”

As Bank the Blue continues to grow to offer more extensive mental health services for even more police officers, they need donations more than ever. You or your corporation can make a monthly or one-time donation at

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