My brother, Wayne, would have celebrated his 41st birthday this month, but he died by suicide 10 years ago. If you’ve ever doubted that stigma surrounds this topic, consider that it has taken me (a psychologist who’s spent years working with trauma and empathizing with clients’ darkest moments) a decade to acknowledge his suicide in a public, uncensored venue. My CDP colleagues have written powerful blogs about coping in survivors of suicide (see recent posts by Dr. Lisa French here and Dr. Regina Shillinglaw here) that inspired to me to reflect both on how I’ve coped with Wayne’s death, and how it has influenced my clinical work.
Blog posts with the tag "Suicide"
This past year our research team published the results of a randomized clinical trial (RCT) testing brief Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (BCBT) as compared to treatment as usual (TAU) for the prevention of suicidal behavior among military personnel. BCBT is the first scientifically-supported intervention for preventing suicidal behavior in the military. Soldiers who received the 12-session BCBT were 60% less likely to make a suicide attempt during the 2-year follow-up as compared to Soldiers who received TAU. As the public’s awareness of BCBT grows, there has been considerable interest in understanding more about this treatment. Below I provide answers to some of the most common questions asked about BCBT.
This same time last year I shared data from the calendar year 2013 (CY13) Department of Defense Suicide Event Report (DoDSER). The DoD releases the most up-to-date DoDSER report annually, which summarizes fatal and nonfatal suicide events for U.S. Service members. As someone who is highly interested in suicide prevention and intervention, I anxiously await the release of the new document every year.
Having recently participated in a local suicide prevention event in my local community, this article about suicide and stigma caught my eye. I was invited by a group of individuals to help with a suicide awareness and prevention walk sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and to help with a community educational meeting about suicide about two weeks after the walk. Most of the individuals who are a part of this group have had personal experience with suicide, losing one or more family members in this way.
Clinicians are affected when a patient suicides. We may all be affected differently. Some of us may grieve the loss, some of us may question our competence, and some of us may fear seeing future suicidal or high-risk patients. There are also confounding variables that may arise following the suicide event that can complicate or extend the grief process, including legal/ethical issues, administrative requirements, and clinic procedures to name a few.