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1 Suicide Prevention Kerry L. Knox, Ph.D., M.S. Director Janet Kemp RN, Ph.D. VA National Suicide Prevention Coordinator Associate Director Education and.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Suicide Prevention Kerry L. Knox, Ph.D., M.S. Director Janet Kemp RN, Ph.D. VA National Suicide Prevention Coordinator Associate Director Education and."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Suicide Prevention Kerry L. Knox, Ph.D., M.S. Director Janet Kemp RN, Ph.D. VA National Suicide Prevention Coordinator Associate Director Education and Training Revised 10/2009 by: Education, Training, and Dissemination core of the VISN 2 Center of Excellence at Canandaigua Canandaigua VA Medical Center Center of Excellence, Bldg Fort Hill Avenue Canandaigua, NY Deborah A. King, Ph.D. Clinical Training Coordinator Jane Wood, R.N., M.S.N. Clinical Trainer

2 2 Suicide Prevention Introduction Objectives: By participating in this training you will learn:  The scope and importance of suicide prevention  The negative impact of myths and misinformation  How to identify a Veteran at risk  How to effectively communicate with a suicidal Veteran  How to gain information to help the Veteran  How to refer a Veteran for evaluation and treatment

3 3 Suicide in the U.S. (2006 CDC data) Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all ages:  33,000 suicides occur each year in the U.S.  91 suicides occur each day  One suicide occurs every 16 minutes Suicide Prevention Brief Overview

4 The Face of Suicide in the U.S.(SAMHSA, 2009) Gender - Men take their lives at nearly four times the rate of women Age - Suicide is the second leading cause of death among year olds and the third leading cause among year olds and the third leading cause among year olds year olds Persons aged 65 years and older have the highest Persons aged 65 years and older have the highest suicide rate of any age group suicide rate of any age group One older adult commits suicide every 90 minutes One older adult commits suicide every 90 minutes Veteran Status-Veterans may be at even greater risk than those in the general population 4 Suicide Prevention Brief Overview

5 5 What do the statistics mean?  Veterans are at risk for suicide.  We need to do more to reduce their risk.

6 6 VA National Initiatives  Research in suicide prevention  Best practices in identification and treatment  Educating employees at every level  Partnering with community-based organizations and the armed forces  Veterans Suicide Hotline/Chat Line LOCAL Initiatives LOCAL Initiatives  Community Education/Awareness Suicide Prevention Brief Overview

7 7 Suicide Prevention Myths and Misinformation Myth: Asking about suicide may lead a Veteran to commit suicide

8 Reality:  Asking a veteran about suicide does not create suicidal thoughts any more than asking about chest pain causes angina.  The act of asking the question simply gives the Veteran permission to talk about his or her thoughts and feelings. 8

9 9 Suicide Prevention Myths and Misinformation Myth: There are ‘talkers’ and there are ‘doers’.

10 Reality:  People who talk about suicide must be taken seriously.  Talking about suicide is an important warning sign that further mental health evaluation is necessary. 10

11 11 Suicide Prevention Myths and Misinformation Myth: If somebody really wants to die by suicide, there is nothing you can do about it.

12 Reality:  Individuals who have survived serious suicide attempts have clearly stated that they wished someone had shown an interest.  By supporting the Veteran to get help, you’ve gone a long way toward saving a life. 12

13 13 Suicide Prevention Myths and Misinformation Myth: A Veteran won’t commit suicide because…  she has young children at home  he has made a verbal or written promise

14 Reality:  The intent to die can override any rational thinking.  A suicidal Veteran must be taken seriously and referred for evaluation and treatment. 14

15 15 Suicide Prevention Operation S.A.V.E. Operation S. A. V. E. will help you act with care and compassion if you encounter a Veteran who is suicidal. The acronym “SAVE” helps you to remember the important steps involved in suicide prevention Signs of suicidal thinking Signs of suicidal thinking Ask questions Ask questions Validate the veteran’s experience Validate the veteran’s experience Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help

16 16 Suicide Prevention Operation S.A.V.E. Suicide Prevention Operation S.A.V.E. Importance of identification  There are a number of warning signs and symptoms.  Some of the signs are obvious but others are not.  When you recognize one of these signs, it’s critically important to ask the Veteran if he or she is thinking of suicide.

17 17 Suicide Prevention S igns of suicidal thinking Acute Warning Signs and Symptoms:  Threatening to hurt or kill self  Looking for ways to kill self  Seeking access to pills, weapons or other means  Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide

18 Suicide Prevention S igns of suicidal thinking Additional Important Warning Signs:  Hopelessness  Rage, anger, seeking revenge  Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities  Feeling trapped  Increasing drug or alcohol abuse 18

19 19 Suicide Prevention S igns of suicidal thinking Additional Important Warning Signs:  Withdrawing from friends, family and society  Anxiety, agitation  Dramatic changes in mood  Feeling there is no reason for living, no sense of purpose in life  Difficulty sleeping or sleeping all the time  Giving away possessions

20 20 Suicide Prevention Asking the question Know how to ask the most important question of all: “Are you thinking of killing yourself.”

21 21 Suicide Prevention Asking the question DO ask the question if you’ve identified warning signs or symptoms DO ask the question in such a way that is natural and flows with the conversation

22 22 Suicide Prevention Asking the question DON’T ask the question as though you are looking for a “no” answer. “You aren’t thinking of killing yourself are you?” DON’T wait to ask the question when the Veteran is halfway out the door

23 23 Suicide Prevention Ask the question Things to consider when you talk with the Veteran:  Remain calm  Listen more than you speak  Maintain eye contact  Act with confidence  Do not argue  Use open body language  Limit questions-let the Veteran do the talking  Use supportive - encouraging comments  Be honest –there are no quick solutions but help is available help is available

24 24 Suicide Prevention V alidate the Veteran’s experience Validation means:  Acknowledging the Veteran’s feelings  Recognizing that the situation is serious  Not passing judgment  Reassuring him or her that you are here to help

25 25 Suicide Prevention Encourage treatment and Expedite getting help Reassure the Veteran that:  Treatment is available  Getting help for suicide is like getting help for any medical problem  Every Veteran has the right to care  Even if they have had treatment before, it’s worth it to try again

26 26 Suicide Prevention Tips for expediting a referral: Suicide Prevention Tips for expediting a referral:  Get to know the referral process in your facility  Know barriers in your facility, i.e., no acute psychiatry available in this facility  If you don’t know the answer to a question the Veteran asks, let them know that you will help find the answer

27 27 Suicide Prevention E ncourage treatment and E xpedite getting help Safety Issues Safety Issues  Never try to negotiate with a Veteran who has a gun-call security  If a Veteran has taken pills or cut him or herself-call security  If a Veteran runs away-call security  If you are speaking with a suicidal Veteran located at your facility call security. If they are located outside your facility call 911.  Know your facility process for referring Veterans for treatment

28 28 Suicide Prevention Operation S. A.V. E. Operation S. A. V. E. can save lives by helping you recognize: Signs of suicidal behavior Asking the question, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Validating the veteran’s experience and Encouraging treatment and Expediting referral

29 29 Suicide Prevention By : Suicide Prevention By participating in this training you have learned:  The scope of the problem of suicides in the Veteran population  The importance of suicide prevention  The negative impact of myths and misinformation  How to identify a Veteran who may be at risk  Some of the signs and symptoms of suicidal thinking  How to effectively ask the most important question of all  How to gain information to help the Veteran  How to refer a Veteran for evaluation and treatment

30 Thank You References Operation S.A.V.E. Guide Training VA Edition Operation S.A.V.E. Guide Training VA Edition


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