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Understanding & Preventing Suicide Dr. Alex Alexander PowerPoint Presentation
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Understanding & Preventing Suicide Dr. Alex Alexander

Understanding & Preventing Suicide Dr. Alex Alexander

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Understanding & Preventing Suicide Dr. Alex Alexander

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  1. Understanding & Preventing SuicideDr. Alex Alexander

  2. Sections of This Training PPT: 1. Overview 2. Statistics 3. Resiliency and Early Prevention 4. Cultural Competency 5. Taking Action 6. Faith-Based Community 7. Resources

  3. Section 1: Overview

  4. Defining the Problem • Attempted suicide is a potentially self-injurious act committed with at least some intent to die as a result of the act. • 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

  5. Characteristics of Suicide Alternative to problem perceived as unsolvable by any other means: Viewing suicide from this perspective has several important implications. For one, just as someone may get a temporary high from a drug, he or she may obtain temporary attention, support, or even popularity after a suicide attempt. A second implication of viewing suicide as an alternative is that suicide can then be understood as less than a wish to die than a wish to escape the intense emotional pain generate from what appears to be an inescapable solution.

  6. Characteristics of Suicide Crisis thinking colors problem solving: When we think of a crisis as any situation in which we feel that our skills do not meet the demands of the environment, we realize that crises can be frequent visitors in most of our lives.

  7. Characteristics of Suicide Person is often ambivalent: What this means is that the person is feeling two things at the same time: there is a part of that person that wants to die and part that wants to live and both parts must be acknowledged. While we line up with and unequivocally support the side that wants to live, this can’t be done by ignoring or dismissing that side that wants to die.

  8. Characteristics of Suicide Suicidal solution has an irrational component: People who are suicidal are often unaware of the consequences of suicide that are obvious to the rest of the word. For example, they are usually not thinking about the impact of their death on others, or they hold a perception they will be reincarnated or somehow still present to see how others react to their deaths. This irrationality affects how trapped and helpless the person feels.

  9. Characteristics of Suicide Suicide is a form of communication: For people who are suicidal, normal communication has usually broken down and the suicide attempt may be the person’s way of sending a message or reacting to the isolation they feel because their communication skills are ineffective.

  10. Death by Suicide and Psychiatric Diagnosis Psychological autopsy studies done in various countries from over almost 50 years report the same outcomes. - 90% of people who die by suicide are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders: Major Depressive Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Depressive Phase, Alcohol or Substance Abuse, Schizophrenia, Personality Disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder

  11. Depression • Depression is a physical illness, just like cancer or diabetes. • Depression is caused by an interaction of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. • Depression impacts people across age, gender, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic boundaries.

  12. Depression • Four out of ten children and adolescents will have a second episode of depression within two years. • Depressed adolescents are at an increased risk for substance abuse and pregnancy. • Over half of depressed youth will attempt suicide, and at least 7% will ultimately die as a result. • Early identification and treatment of depression can save lives.

  13. Signs of Depression • Loss of interest in normal daily activities • Feeling sad or down • Feeling hopeless • Crying spells for no apparent reason • Problems sleeping • Trouble focusing or concentrating • Difficulty making decisions • Unintentional weight gain or loss • Irritability • Restlessness • Being easily annoyed • Feeling fatigued or weak • Feeling worthless • Loss of interest in sex • Thoughts of suicide or suicidal behavior • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

  14. Signs of Depression in Youth • Oversensitivity to criticism • Risk-taking, hyperactivity • Low self-esteem • Indecision, withdrawal, inactivity • Somatic symptoms and complaints • Aggression, hostility • Sleep disturbances • Eating disorders

  15. Protective Factors for Suicide Protective factors reduce the likelihood of suicide; they enhance resilience and may serve to counterbalance risk factors. - Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance use disorders - Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help-seeking - Restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide - Strong connections to family and community support - Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships - Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and nonviolent handling of disputes - Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation.

  16. Youth-Specific Protective Factors • Contact with a caring adult • Sense of connection or participation in school • Positive self-esteem and coping skills • Access to and care for mental/physical/substance disorders

  17. Risk Factors Risk factors may be thought of as leading to or being associated with suicide; that is, people “possessing” the risk factors are at greater potential for suicidal behavior. - Bio-psychosocial - Environmental - Socio-cultural

  18. Bio-psychosocial Risk Factors • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders • Alcohol and other substance use disorders • Hopelessness • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies • History of trauma or abuse • Some major physical illnesses • Previous suicide attempt • Family history of suicide

  19. Environmental Risk Factors • Job or financial loss • Relational or social loss • Easy access to lethal means • Local clusters of suicides that have a contagious influence

  20. Socio-cultural Risk Factors • Lack of social support and sense of isolation • Stigma associated with help-seeking behavior • Barriers to accessing health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment • Certain cultural and religious beliefs (for instance, the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma) • Exposure to, including through the media, and influence of others who have died by suicide

  21. Youth-Specific Risk Factors • Divorce or separation of parents • Harassment by peers (bullying) • Sexual identity crisis • Gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender sexual orientation • Easy access to lethal methods, especially guns • School crisis (disciplinary, academic)

  22. Youth-Specific Risk Factors • Genetic predisposition (serotonin depletion) • Feelings of isolation or being cut off from others • Ineffective coping mechanisms • Inadequate problem-solving skills • Cultural and/or religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is a noble or acceptable solution to a personal dilemma) • Exposure to suicide and/or family history of suicide

  23. Youth-Specific Risk Factors • Influence (either through personal contact or media representations) of significant people who died by suicide • Loss or separation (e.g., death, divorce, relationships) • Exposure to violence • Family crisis (e.g., abuse, domestic violence, running away, child-parental conflict • Barriers to receiving mental health treatment; stigma, affordability, availability, accessibility • Experiences of disappointment or rejection

  24. Youth-Specific Risk Factors • Feelings of stress brought about by perceived achievement needs • Unwanted pregnancy, abortion • Infection with HIV or other STDs • Serious injury that may change life course (i.e., traumatic brain injury) • Severe or physical terminal illness, or mental illness or substance abuse

  25. Warning Signs • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself • Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, pills, or other means • Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person • Feeling hopeless • Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge • Acting reckless or engaging in risk activities – seemingly without thinking

  26. Warning Signs • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out • Increasing alcohol or drug use • Withdrawing from friends, family, and society • Feeling anxious, agitated or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time • Experiencing dramatic mood swings • Seeing no reason for living or having no purpose in life.

  27. Warning Signs for Youth Suicide • Suicide threats • Suicide plan/method/access • Making final arrangements • Sudden changes in physical habits and appearance • Preoccupation with death and suicide themes

  28. Warning Signs for Youth Suicide • Increased inability to concentrate or think clearly • Loss of interest in previously pleasurable activities • Symptoms of depression • Increase use and abuse of alcohol and/or drugs • Hopelessness • Rage, anger, seeking revenge

  29. Warning Signs for Youth Suicide • Reckless behavior or activities • Feeling trapped • Anxiety and agitation • Sleep difficulties, especially insomnia • Dramatic changes in mood

  30. Warning Signs for Youth Suicide • Sudden/recent purchase of a weapon • No reason for living • No sense of purpose in life • Sense of being a burden • Profound sense of loneliness, alienation and isolation • Sense of fearlessness

  31. Myth vs. Fact Myth: People who talk about suicide don’t die by suicide. Fact: Many people who die by suicide have given definite warnings to family and friends of their intentions. Always take any comment about suicide seriously. Myth: Suicide happens without warning. Fact: Most suicidal people give many clues and warning signs regarding their suicidal intention.

  32. Myth vs. Fact Myth: People who are suicidal are fully intent on dying. Fact: Most suicidal people are undecided about living or dying – which is called suicidal ambivalence. A part of them wants to live; however, death seems like the only way out of their pain and suffering. They may allow themselves to “gamble with death,” leaving it up to other to save them. Myth: Males are more likely to be suicidal. Fact: Men die by suicide more often than women. However, women attempt suicide three times more often than men.

  33. Myth vs. Fact Myth: Asking a depressed person about suicide will push him/her to kill themselves.. Fact: Studies have shown that patients with depression have these ideas and talking about them does not increase the risk of them taking their own life. Myth: Improvement following a suicide attempt or crisis means that the risk is over. Fact: Most suicides occur within days or weeks of “improvement” when the individual has the energy and motivation to actually follow through with his/her suicidal thoughts.

  34. Myth vs. Fact Myth: Once a person attempts suicide the pain and shame will keep them from trying again. Fact: The most common psychiatric illness that ends in suicide is major depression, a recurring illness. Every time a patient gets depressed, the risk of suicide returns. Myth: Sometimes a bad event can push a person to suicide. Fact: Suicide results from serious psychiatric disorders, not just a single event. Myth: Suicide occurs in great numbers around holidays in November and December. Fact: Highest rates of suicide are in April while the lowest rates are in December.

  35. Intervention Three basic steps: 1. Show you care 2. Ask about suicide 3. Get help

  36. Show You Care • Take ALL talk of suicide seriously. If you are concerned that someone may take their life, trust your judgment. • Listen carefully. • Reflect what you hear. • Use language appropriate for the age of the person involved.

  37. Be Genuine Let the person know you really care!!! Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers.

  38. Ask About Suicide • 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?

  39. Ask About Treatment • Do you have a therapist/doctor? • Are you seeing him/her? • Are you taking your medications?

  40. Getting Help • Do not leave the person alone • Know referral resources • Reassure the person • Encourage the person to participate in the helping process

  41. Getting Help • 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. Once therapy (or hospitalization) is initiated, be sure the suicidal person is following through with appointments and medications.

  42. Section 2: Statistics

  43. National Statistics • One person dies by suicide every 16.6 minutes and every year over 32,000 Americans die by suicide, approximately 90 people per day. • Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death. • It is the third leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 24. • There is one suicide attempt every 39 seconds and 750,000 – 1.2 million attempts each year. • It is estimated that the cost of self-inflicted injuries and suicide is over $33 billion per year. • Over 90% of suicide victims have a significant psychiatric illness or substance abuse disorder at the time of their death. These are often undiagnosed, untreated or both.

  44. National Statistics • Research suggests that 20% - 50% of individuals who die by suicide have alcohol or drug use problems. • Thus, substance use disorder is the psychiatric diagnosis with the second greatest association to suicide, second only to depression. Suicide prevention initiatives that identify at-risk populations and provide treatment must target people with both mental illness and/or substance use disorders, as both are associated with an increased risk of suicide. • Research shows that during our lifetime 20% of us will have a suicide within our immediate family, and 60% of us will personally know someone who dies by suicide.

  45. Washington Statistics • In 2005, 814 Washington State residents died by suicide (age-adjusted rate 13 per 100,000). • Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death for all Washington residents and the second leading cause among youth ages 15– 24. • The highest rates of suicide occur among men 75 years old or older. • The most promising way to prevent suicide and suicidal behavior is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses. Interventions work best when done as part of a comprehensive approach to prevention.

  46. Youth Suicide • Third leading cause of death for ages 10 – 24 (only accidents and homicide occur more in this age). • Second leading cause of death for American college students. • More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. • Everyday across the nation, there are approximately 12 youth suicides.

  47. Youth Suicide • Every 2 hours, 11 minutes, a person under the age of 25 dies by suicide in the United States. • In the U.S. in 2005, 32,637 people died by suicide. Of these, 4,212 deaths were by people between the ages of 15 – 24. • For every suicide by youth, it is estimated that 100-200 attempts are made (YRBSS, 2003). • Firearms are the most commonly used suicide method accounting for 49% of suicide deaths. • For the past 60 years, the suicide rate has quadrupled for makes 15 – 24 years old and doubled for females of the same age.

  48. Adult Suicide • Highest number of suicides. • Second leading cause of death among ages 25 – 34.

  49. Elderly Suicide • Nationally, 15 older adults die each day by suicide. • Comprise 12% of the population but account for 18% of the nation’s suicides. • Nationally, in 2005, people ages 65 and older died by suicide at a rate of 14.7. This figure is higher than the national average of 11.0 suicides per 100,000 people in the general population. • The number of men’s suicides in late life is five times that for women the same age.

  50. Elderly Suicide • The most lethal population group compared to younger populations. The rate of attempts to suicide deaths is 3:1 in older adults and 100:1 in younger individuals. • Suicide by firearm is the 4th leading cause of injury deaths in most states. • Eighty percent of seniors who die by suicide visited their primary care physician within 30 days; 40% were seen within the last week; and 20% saw their primary care physician on the same day as the suicide.