Why choose suicide prevention?

According to the World Health Organization-  “Social, psychological, cultural, and other factors can interact to lead a person to suicidal behavior, but the stigma attached to mental disorders and suicide means that many people feel unable to seek help. Despite the evidence that many deaths are preventable, suicide is too often a low priority for governments and policy-makers. “
 “The objective is to prioritize suicide prevention on the global, public health, and public policy agendas and to raise awareness of suicide as a public health issue.”

The Numbers
An estimated 804 000 suicide deaths occurred worldwide in 2012, representing a suicide rate of 11.4 per 100 000 population (15.0 for males and 8.0 for females).
However, since suicide is a sensitive issue, and even illegal in some countries, it is very likely that it is under-reported.
In richer countries, three times as many men die of suicide than women do. But, in low- and middle-income countries the male-to-female ratio is much lower at 1.5 men to each woman. Globally, suicides account for 50% of all violent deaths in men and 71% in women. With regard to age, suicide rates are highest in persons aged 70 years or over for both men and women in almost all regions of the world. In some countries, suicide rates are highest among the young,
and globally suicide is the second leading cause of death in 15−29-year-olds. The ingestion of pesticide, hanging and firearms are among the most common methods of suicide globally.
For every suicide on record, there are many more people who attempt
suicide every year. Significantly, a prior suicide attempt is the single most important risk factor for suicide in the general population.

Risk factors
- difficulties in accessing health care and in receiving the care needed
- easy availability of the means for suicide
- inappropriate media reporting that sensationalizes suicide and increases the risk of “copycat” suicides
- stigma against people who seek help for suicidal behaviors or for mental health and substance abuse problems

Risks linked to the community and relationships -war and disaster
-stresses of acculturation (such as among indigenous peoples or displaced persons)
-a sense of isolation
-conflictual relationships

Risk factors at the individual level
-previous suicide attempts
-mental disorders
-harmful use of alcohol
-financial loss
-chronic pain
-family history of suicide

Strategies to counter these risk factors are of three kinds.
-“Universal” prevention strategies, which are designed to reach an entire population, may aim to increase access to health care, promote mental health, reduce harmful use of alcohol, limit access to the means for suicide or promote responsible media reporting.
-“Selective” prevention strategies target vulnerable groups such as persons who have suffered trauma or abuse, those affected by conflict or disaster, refugees and migrants, and persons bereaved by suicide, by training “gatekeepers” who assist the vulnerable and by offering helping services such as helplines.
-“Indicated” strategies target specific vulnerable individuals with community support,
follow-up for those leaving health-care facilities, education and training for health workers, and improved identification and management of mental and substance use disorders.          Prevention can also be strengthened by encouraging protective factors such as strong personal relationships, a personal belief system and positive coping strategies.

7/28/14 - Suicide Prevention

While suicide rates in New Jersey are among the lowest in the nation, suicide remains a significant cause of preventable mortality.  In New Jersey in 2000, there were 600 suicides -- nearly twice the number of homicides in the same time period. It is estimated that fewer than 25% of suicide attempts are reported and more than 40% of suicide attempts by minors are second or subsequent attempts.

We know that all schools in the state have had to deal with students who attempt suicide.  Unfortunately, a great many schools may eventually face the tragedy of the suicide of a student.  There are few events in the life of a school that are more painful or potentially disruptive than a student suicide.  Young people are especially reactive when the victim is a peer, and "contagion" and other maladaptive coping responses are more common in adolescents and young adults.

Suicide ranks as the third leading cause of death for young people ages 10 to 24; only accidents and homicides occur more frequently.  Firearms remain the most commonly used suicide method among youth, regardless of race or gender.  Research has shown that most adolescent suicides occur in the afternoon or early evening and in the teen's home.

The New Jersey Department of Health supported the printing and distribution of "Managing Sudden Traumatic Loss in the Schools" to more than 13,000 schools and communities in the state.  Planning ahead, recognizing resources, and tapping into the expertise of both the mental health and school systems form the foundation for effective response to sudden, violent death in the school community.  The strategies to build on that foundation and create interventions that are both grounded in theory yet meet the practical needs of diverse schools is outlined in the manual.  The second edition updates some of the original material with new research findings and expands content to reflect the range of traumatic deaths with which schools appear to be confronted.

The Mercer County Traumatic Loss Coalition was formed in 1995 as a result of several traumatic events and suicides in which took place in Mercer County.  The Coalition, which is comprised of various sectors of the community, provides a coordinated response to traumatic loss incidents that occur in the community.  It seeks to address the prevention of destructive behaviors of Mercer County adolescents and their families.  Specific events are suicides, homicides, motor vehicle crashes, natural or man made disasters, including terrorist attacks.  Some of the agencies the Coalition works with are all Mercer County district schools, hospitals, mental health agencies, law enforcement, clergy, emergency relief and government agencies.  The Coalition has been available for continuing training for school personnel on managing traumatic loss in the community.  A key project component focuses on assisting schools in the aftermath of a traumatic event.

The Traumatic Loss Coalition has been identified as a needed infrastructure in New Jersey communities to address crisis intervention. It has been replicated in all 21 New Jersey counties and coordinated by The Department of Children and Families.
The Traumatic Loss Coalitions for Youth (TLC) is dedicated to excellence in suicide prevention and in providing a collaborative and coordinated mental health response to a global or community crisis affecting our school aged youth. Individuals seeking training, information and technical assistance can contact the Traumatic Loss Coalitions at 732-235-2810.
Individuals seeking immediate crisis assistance should call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or their local Traumatic Loss Coalition which can be found at http://ubhc.umdnj.edu/brit/tlc/

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