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Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention

The Role of a First Responder. Lisa Schwartz. , . LCSW. Suicide Prevention Coordinators. Erie VAMC. 814-860-2038. RISK FACTORS. High . gun . ownership -a major factor (guns are used in approximately 58% of completed suicides)..

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Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention




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Presentation on theme: "Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention"— Presentation transcript:

Slide1

Suicide Prevention, Assessment, and Intervention The Role of a First Responder

Lisa Schwartz, LCSWSuicide Prevention CoordinatorsErie VAMC814-860-2038Slide2

RISK FACTORSHigh gun ownership -a major factor (guns are used in approximately 58% of completed suicides).Debilitating injuriesMental health issuesVeterans have >2x greater risk & account for 1 in 5 suicides in the US.Slide3

The ultimate aim of suicide prevention is to reduce deaths by suicide; however, it is equally important to reduce the frequency and severity of suicide attempts.Slide4

First RespondersPolice officers, firefighters and other first line responders are increasingly called upon in situations involving mental health emergencies, such as suicidal crises.First responders are in a unique position to determine the course and outcome of suicidal crises.They are often the first to be involved in situations where suicidal behaviors, such as a suicide threat, suicide attempt or completed suicide, have occurred.Slide5

Suicide by deadly force One of the most difficult crisis situations for police to address occurs when an individual engages in life-threatening behavior to provoke officers to fire, either to protect themselves or a civilian bystander. This has been termed "police-assisted suicide" or "suicide by cop”.Slide6

First RespondersHELPING SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDALPeople who feel suicidal often express hopelessness and depression. They see suicide as the only way to solve their problems and eliminate their suffering. Although suicide is difficult to predict, a large proportion of those who eventually kill themselves will give warning signs of their suicidal intentions in the weeks or months prior to their death. These are not harmless bids for attention, but important cries for help that should be taken seriously.Slide7

Warning signs include both behavioral and verbal clues:Hopelessness/helplessnessWithdrawn from family/friendsAnger, rageGiving away possessionsHistory of suicide attemptsDrug and/or alcohol abuseA change in healthSlide8

Warning signs continued…..Constantly dwelling on problems for which there seem to be no solutions;Expressing a lack of support or belief in the system;Giving some other indication of a suicide plan.Slide9

Assessing the riskEngage the individual. Encourage the person to talk. Most suicidal people are ambivalent about dying. Asking someone if they are suicidal will not “tip them over the edge”, but will provide a sense of relief and a starting point for a solution. To assess intent, ask if the individual has a plan, access to lethal means, or has decided when to act.Slide10

HELPING SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDALNever leave a potentially suicidal individual alone based on their promise to visit their mental health worker or the hospital. Ensure that family members or significant others are on the scene and accept responsibility for help seeking.Slide11

Veterans Crisis LineNational Number: 1-800-273-8255Press #1 for Veteran or family of Veteran Crisis Line is available 24/7 and staffed by VA mental health professionalsIn an emergency, Crisis Line staff will assist with immediate referral to community resources including:Local Police DepartmentsCounty Crisis ServicesIf non-emergent, the Veteran will be referred to the closest VA within 24hrs.