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TSA at Orlando International Airport Marks One Year Since TSO Robert Henry's Death

TSO Robert Henry jumped to his death on February 2. Photo: Sylvia Henry
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Robert Henry was a TSA agent who experienced bullying at the airport. Some say it might have led to his suicide. Photo: GoFundMe

Sunday marks one year since TSA officer Rob Henry jumped to his death from the Hyatt Regency Hotel at the Orlando International Airport. The TSA is stepping up its suicide prevention efforts to help officers still coping with the loss. 

The agency put up posters around break rooms at the airport and sent out emails reminding TSA officers about the warning signs of suicide and how to get help. 

Mental Health Association of Central Florida’s Charlotte Melton says the anniversary of a death can trigger a mental health crisis in people who are still experiencing grief.

“What I’d say to somebody who is watching their loved one be impacted or just a friend, a neighbor or coworker. Don’t assume they’re ok. Ask how they’re doing. Someone may not show it the way that another individual would and even if they’re not in pain they’ll appreciate you checking on them.”

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Melton says someone who exhibits sudden changes in behavior like isolation, intense emotions, and a preoccupation with getting affairs in order might be considering self-harm.

Sylvia Henry, Rob Henry’s mother, says the agency needs to do more to prevent suicides like her son's. 

She says that needs to include anti-bullying efforts that begin by acknowledging the toxic workplace culture. 

“Suicide prevention is great but it would be a lot better if they just treated their employees with respect and fairly.”

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Henry says an internal investigation that found Rob’s death wasn’t caused by years of harassment and intimidation did nothing to help these efforts. 

Workers at TSA at Orlando International Airport will wear two-tone blue and purple ribbons on their uniforms to honor the memory of Rob Henry and to promote suicide awareness.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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Tune into Intersection on Thursday, Feb. 6, at noon and 9 p.m. to hear a recording from our "TSA in Turmoil" event from last week. We'll explore what's happened in the year since Rob Henry’s death and what's on the horizon.
If you'd like to listen to the story, please click on the clips above.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.