When I was an active duty Air Force psychologist, I learned early on in my career the importance of working closely with active duty Chaplains. In fact, Chaplains and behavioral-health providers often served on several base-level committees together focused on community initiatives. We collaborated regularly on population health-based suicide prevention efforts and crisis response following traumatic events, as well as taught relationship enhancement workshops together. I believe that caring for our Service members takes all hands on deck (to use a Navy saying).
Blog posts with the tag "Staff Perspective"
My first professional experience with suicide occurred over 20 years ago. The suicide was not one of my clients, but was someone many felt they knew and his death had a huge impact on my professional life. In 1996, I had just moved to Yokosuka, Japan to work as a counselor on a Navy base. It was my first job working for the Navy and I was excited to support Sailors and their families in an overseas environment. At the time I had been out of graduate school only a few years. I was seeking an opportunity to have a positive impact and felt I had the skills and experience to do that on the Navy base.
In 2015, the National Center for Health Statistics found that in the U.S. alone, 9.8 million adults endorsed having serious suicidal thoughts, and 1.3 million adults reported a suicide attempt during the past year (World Health Organization). Suicide experts advocate for restricting access to lethal means as an effective strategy to reduce suicide rates. In this blog, I plan to review the efficacy of reducing access to various lethal means.
From an early age, people learn to be curious about the happenings of the world by asking “why.” However, in some cases the “why” becomes a question about tragic life events such as, “Why did this happen?” When I recently read the newly released 2016 Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (DoDSER), one particular tragic finding had me asking a curious, Why?
The struggle to understand a friend’s suicide was illustrated for me again recently when a friend posted this on Facebook, “I have no words right now, except pain for finding out that I lost a good friend and amazing soldier to suicide this morning.” Reading through the comments of his post someone mentioned the deceased being free of pain. My friend’s response was, “but what about everyone else’s pain now?” I think that speaks volumes about the heartbreak of suicide.