Two years have passed since I publicly discussed my brother’s suicide and how it impacted me in this very forum. It was a huge step for me at the time, disclosing this secret that I guarded carefully. I had the sense that it would be cathartic for me, but I also knew I couldn’t take it back once it was out there. In retrospect it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever done.
Blog posts with the tag "Suicide"
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).
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.
The percentage by which Veterans living in rural areas have a higher risk of dying by suicide than Veterans who live in urban areas, according to an article recently published in the journal Psychological Services -- A menu of options: Resources for preventing veteran suicide in rural communities.
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.