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Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

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Suicide Prevention

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  1. Suicide Prevention Robert Tell, LCSW Suicide Prevention Coordinator Portland VA Medical Center

  2. What’s the VA doing? • Suicide prevention coordinators in each medical center • 24-hour hotline • Guide training • Ongoing identification of patients at risk • Ready access to Mental Health services • Monitoring and follow-up to maintain continuous care

  3. 1-800-273-TALK (8255) • Partnering with SAMHSA and Lifeline • VA employees 24 hours a day • Veterans, family members, and friends can call • Follow up provided by local suicide prevention coordinators

  4. It’s everyone’s problem • A third of suicides aren’t receiving care. • We need to catch them wherever we can. • Know the warning signs. • Ask the questions. • Refer for help.

  5. Prevention is hard, but it’s worth it. • Study of people prevented from jumping off of the Golden Gate Bridge. • 94% are still alive or died of natural causes after 15 years. • A comparison group of people admitted to SF Hospital had 89% still alive after 15 years.

  6. Warning Signs • Hopelessness • Rage, anger, seeking revenge • Acting recklessly or impulsively • Feeling trapped • Increased alcohol or drug use • Withdrawing from friends, family and society. • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time • Physical illness (Pain, Nausea, untreatable discomfort) • Dramatic changes in mood • No reason for living, no sense of purpose in life. • Talking about suicide!

  7. Warning Signs: Talk • 66% said something to a family member or friend • Overt (active suicidal ideation) • “I want to kill myself” • “I am going to kill myself” • Covert (passive suicidal ideation) • “I would be better off dead” • “Life has lost its meaning for me” • “Its just too much to put up with anymore” • “I can’t go on any longer” • “Nobody needs me anymore” • “Maybe a car will hit me”

  8. Warning Signs: Action • 80% give a clue • Buy a gun • Stockpile medications • Take a sudden interest, or lose interest in religion • Take risks • Have previous suicide attempt/s • Make amends: Thank You’s & Good-byes • Get affairs in order • Make a Will • Give away prized possessions • Have sudden unexplained recoveryfrom severe depression • Spend Money or give gifts or charity that is out of character

  9. Ask the Questions • Are you currently having thoughts that you might be better off dead? • Are you currently thinking about specific ways to hurt or kill yourself?

  10. Get Help • Multnomah (503) 988-4888 • Hillsboro (503) 291-9111 • Clackamas (503) 655-8401 • Clark County (360) 696-9560 • Washington County (503) 291-9111 • National (800) 273-TALK

  11. Means Restriction • Guns! • Bullets in a separate place • Trigger locks • Locked cabinet • Each provides additive protection!

  12. Portland VAMC Suicide Prevention Coordinator • Robert Tell, LCSW • Phone: 503-220-8262 x56198 • E-mail: robert.tell@va.gov