I had a chance to sit through a great webinar the other day. A psychologist friend turned me on to the website and the webinar. This past week was Joining Forces Wellness Week. Day 1 had a webinar on "Addressing Suicide in the Military and Veterans". It started off with general statistics of suicide in the world and in America. I wanted to take the time to share with everyone. Please reference below for the websites/references for the stats. The goal with this blog is to continue to bring to light the seriousness of suicide in our active duty and retired veterans.
Here are some quick and shocking results from their study that I was surprised by. Based on Dr. Christine Moutier's statistics, suicide is at its highest in over 30+ years. The CDC reports that there's a suicide every 12.3 minutes in the U.S. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Even more shocking is that it's the 2nd leading cause of death for people from the ages of 15-34. For every death, there's approximately 30 suicide attempts. That's 1.4 million attempts annually. Men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide then women. Based on the methods of suicide deaths, firearms was the leading cause (49.9%); followed by suffocation/hanging (26.7%) and overdose/poisoning (15.9%). (All these statistics are based on the latest CDC study from 2014).
These stats are even more disturbing when you think of how suicide can be prevented through something as simple as recognition.
Biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors compounded with current life events all play a role in one's suicide. You combine these with drugs and/or alcohol and you have a very deadly combination. In many military cases, environmental factors can trigger biological, psychological, and social factors. Our service men and women see and feel a lot from their trainings to deployments. It can be a deadly combination.
Timing is EVERYTHING!!!! Intense suicidal urges are short. A mixture of "desire to live vs. die" changes. That's the good news if the signs and symptoms are caught and taken seriously. A 'multiple attempter' can be at twice the risk of following through than a 'non-multiple attempter'.
First is a word about language:
Avoid the following:
Died by suicide
When you suspect someone that is considering or has considered suicide, you must alert the appropriate people (911 or 1-800-273-8255) and even talk with the person in question.
A Crisis Response Plan is also helpful for those around someone who has been suicidal, but most importantly for the person who is at risk. It will allow someone to manage their toughest of times. A Crisis Response Plan will:
Explain rationale for CRP
Provide card for patient to record CRP
Identify personal warning signs
Identify self-management strategies
Identify reasons for living
Identify social supports
Provide crisis/emergency steps
Verbally review and rate likelihood of use
This should be made by your/their health care provider so that it is accurately made, recorded, and managed on a normal basis. To give even more stats, a CRP contributes to 76% reduction in suicide attempts as compared to a 'contracting for safety'. A CFS is basically a piece of paper that states you promise not to kill yourself...
For more information, please visit the following websites:
Thank you for reading or making yourself more aware. Please pass this blog on to as many people as you can. We must continue to spread awareness of the implications of suicide.
Stats presented by Dr. Christine Moutier, MD of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Dr. Craig Bryan, PsyD, of University of Utah, and Dr. Victor Strecher, PhD, of University of Michigan.