The Enemy Within Play video clip “The Enemy Within” Available from the California Highway Patrol
Definition of Suicide “Suicide is a conscious act of self-induced annihilation, best understood …as a needful individual who defines an issue for which the suicide is perceived as the best solution.” Dr. Ed Shneidman, Suicide as Psychache, 1993
Suicide Survivors Family members and others who survive following the death of their loved one by suicide: Spouse Significant Others Parents Children Extended family Grandparents Lovers Friends Co-Workers Classmates 6:1
Nationwide Statistics 2004 data One suicide every 16 minutes 11th ranking cause of death in the US 811,000 suicide attempts every year 5 million living Americans have attempted suicide Firearms used in 52% of suicides
Life’s Most Valuable My mind My family My work ________
Loss or change in an important relationship To avoid or end perceived pain Escape intolerable situation Gain attention Manipulate Punish others/Punish self Become a martyr Losschangeimportant perceived intolerable
Social Support System Warning signs Separation from family or friends - Geographic, legal, temporary Loss of significant others A loner or newcomer Rejected by peers Feels like people don’t care
Why Police Officers Commit Suicide Loss due to death or divorce Marital problems or a bad relationship Terminal illness Guilt over partner’s death Legal Problems Feeling alone Sexual Accusations Disability/Retirement Internal Affairs Investigation Financial Problems Arrest Loss of Employment PTSD. LOSSLOSS
Loss of Rational Thinking Lack of sleep Stress or anxiety Substance Abuse Immaturity Psychosis: Command hallucinations Alien control Religious preoccupation
Symptoms of Depression Change in sleep Change in appetite Loss of energy, motivation Loss of interest in pleasurable activity Apathy Deterioration of personal appearance Deterioration of job performance Frequent physical complaints Preoccupation with death
PTSD Intense arousal after a traumatic event Overwhelms coping mechanisms Leaves the responder feeling helpless and out of control Posttraumatic stress is not prejudiced PTSD invades the mind with almost constant thoughts about the event It is from PTSD that the unseen wounds of an officer begin to manifest. Since we do not see these battle scars, we sometimes try to pretend they do not exist. Trying to pretend doesn’t make the pain go away.
It’s Everybody’s Business The student will be able to list the signs & signals of a person who is at risk of suicide. Do Something!
Risk is 2-3x higher among alcoholics 15-25% of suicides are completed by alcoholics 50% of those who completed suicide were intoxicated Among suicides of alcoholics, 89% were actively drinking at time of death Suicide and Alcohol
Indirect Verbal Clues I can’t go on any longer Nobody needs me anymore I’m tired of life You won’t be seeing me any more I can’t take it any more You’d be better off without me I can’t take the pain
Indirect Suicide Indicators Clues.... Clues.... Clues.... Buying a weapon Giving away possessions Changes in social behavior Reckless officer safety/behavior Changes in personality The “practice run” Sudden religious interest/ disinterest Substance abuse relapse More confrontational with subject
Direct Verbal Clues I wish I were dead You’d be better off without me I might as well be dead If ___doesn’t happen, I’m going to end it I’m going to commit suicide I’m going to kill myself
How Bad Is It? How: Is the plan specific? Do they have the means? Are the means lethal? History: Prior attempts? Any family history? Help: Are they alone? Are they drinking? Lethality lets you know how much help you need and how fast you need it
Intervention is Action A Silent Code 3 Request for Help Respond! Do Something!
Barricades to Seeking Help Denial Avoidance Anger Fear: Will impact job Command will be contacted Hospitalization Being labeled
Do’s of Intervention Remain calm Accept their feelings Focus on central issue Stay close Emphasize temporary nature of problem Explore resources ** Listen ** Listen ** Listen ** Hear what is being said
Don’t sound shocked Don’t offer empty promises Don’t try to joke them out of it Don’t debate morality Don’t assume things will improve Don’t leave person alone Don’t keep it a secret Don’ts of Intervention
A Good Listener: Copes with strong emotion Is prepared to listen – time Provides for comfort Tolerates repetition Listens carefully Respect others perspective Avoids interrupting WAIT THINK RESPOND
The Question Have you been thinking of killing yourself?
Important Questions How would you kill yourself? When did you last think about suicide? What is the closest you’ve come? Have you ever attempted suicide? Has anyone in your family attempted/completed suicide? What are the odds that you will kill yourself? What has been keeping you alive so far? What do you think the future holds in store for you?
Referrals Employee Assistance Program (EAP) Health Care Plan
The Cost of Suicide Cut off from support Achievements minimized Private shame and guilt No honors or recognition Support network collapses Decreased benefits
“Hindering” Survivors Denying the death as a suicide Ignoring or not taking the problem seriously Pressuring them to “get over it” Self-medicating/Taking them drinking Offering negative religious judgments Being judgmental
Helping Survivors Let them talk I’m sorry for your loss… How can I help? Is there anyone I can call for you? Since the suicide, what are the biggest challenges for you? Use the loved one’s name.
Additional Help: Help the group care about the person, and accept the choice he or she made Refer individuals who are struggling excessively with anger, loss, or guilt Don’t remain the only one helping
“Attitudes outweigh facts. Attitudes must change so that statistics can change.” KARL MENNINGER Do Something!
Let us all have the courage to take a stand Not One More…