For Police, Fire, EMS, Dispatchers and all First Responders
Identify common risk factors or warning signs that indicate someone has serious life problems or may be thinking about suicide. Identify protective factors that may reduce the risk of suicide. Learn an easy to remember method of suicide intervention \
At the hands of bad guys In accidents, including car crashes By heart attacks By their own hand
Inherent dangers of police work such as the risk of homicide or accidents overshadow the psychological danger of this occupation…..
“Suicide is a conscious act of self-annihilation brought about by multi-dimensional malaise” Edwin Schniedman
“The Forever Decision” Suicide is an attempt to solve a problem of intense emotional pain with impaired problem-solving skills. 2 Individuals of all races, creeds, incomes, and educational levels die by suicide. There is no typical suicide victim. 3
Crisis thinking colors problem solving: Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. http://spts.pldm.com/http://spts.pldm.com/
Suicidal solution has an irrational component :
Suicide is a form of communication: Kalafat, J. & Underwood, M. Making Educators Partners in Suicide Prevention. Lifelines: A School-Based Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative. Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide. http://spts.pldm.com/http://spts.pldm.com/
Depression Relationship conflicts or personal losses Easy access to firearms Drug and alcohol abuse Financial difficulty Internal investigations Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Risk and Protective Factors for Suicide. http://www.sprc.org/library/srisk.pdf
Clinical Depression Personally Significant Loss Drug or Alcohol Abuse Previous Suicide Attempts A Marked Negative Change in Behavior
Recent Study on PTSD and Suicide Ideation: PTSD due to witnessing the homicide of another officer INCREASES RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING - 2 1/2 times PTSD due to witnessing death, devastation (e.g. 911), abused children INCREASES THE RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING - OVER 3 Times PTSD coupled with alcohol use INCREASES THE RISK OF SUICIDE THINKING NEARLY 10 TIMES Violanti, SLTB, 2004
Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death for all ages in 2010 There were 38,364 suicides in 2010 in the United States--an average of 105 each day Based on data about suicides in 16 National Violent Death Reporting System states in 2009, 33.3% of suicide decedents tested positive for alcohol, 23% for antidepressants, and 20.8% for opiates, including heroin and prescription pain killers. Suicide results in an estimated $34.6 billion in combined medical and work loss costs. www.cdc.gov/injury/wisquars/index.html 10/2010
More Missourians die by suicide than by DWI, homicide, or AIDS. Missouri’s rate of suicide is 14.4/100,000 Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in Missouri Men accout for 79% of completed suicides; women 21% The leading methods of suicide in Missouri are firearms (56%) Suffocation (21%) poisoning (18%) http:// dmh.mo.gov/docs/mentalillness/suicideplan.pdf
The suicide rate for police officers is 17/100,000, compared to the general population's rate of 11/100,000. The Statewide Office of Suicide Prevention. 2008 Annual Report. http://www.helppromotehope.com/documents/Annual_Report.pdf
Q uestion the meaning of suicidal communication. P ersuade the person to get help. R efer to competent counseling.
Don’t hesitate to raise the subject. Be direct, but non-confrontational. Engage them: Are you thinking about suicide? What thoughts or plans do you have? Are you thinking about harming yourself, ending your life? How long have you been thinking about suicide? Have you thought about how you would do it? Do you have _____ (Insert means, weapon, etc.) Do you really want to die, or do you want the pain to go away? Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
Listen to the problem with your full attention. Remember, suicide is not the problem, only the solution to a perceived insoluble problem. Do not rush judgment. Offer hope in any form.
“Will you go with me to get help?” “Will you let me get you help?” Your willingness to listen and help can rekindle hope and make all the difference!!
Suicidal people sometimes feel they can’t be helped so you may have to do more. The best course is getting a commitment from them to accept help, and then making arrangements for that help.
Do not leave the person alone Know referral resources Reassure the person Encourage the person to participate in the helping process Encourage the suicidal person to identify other people in their lives who can also help. Outline a safety plan: Make arrangements for the helper to come to you OR take the person directly to the source of help Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
Do you have a therapist/doctor? Are you seeing him/her? Are you taking your medications? Clayton, J. Suicide Prevention: Saving Lives One Community at a Time. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. http://www.afsp.org/files/Misc_//standardizedpresentation.ppt
Sources: Badge of Life, Law Enforcement Wellness Association Inc. By special permission: portions of power point lessons – on PTSD by Dr. Marc Unger Summit Bible College Bakersfield CA +IN HARMS WAY and the Department of Justice