- More women attempt suicide.
- More men complete suicide.
- Elderly and ages 15-24 are highest rates
- Most in whites, except for 25-44 age range (Black)
- A suicidal state is only temporary but can return.
- A trail of clues is usually left.
- Most often suicide is premeditated, not impulsive.
- Discussion of suicidal plans and feelings acts as a deterrent.
- 8th leading cause of death in U.S.
Psychological Reasons For Suicide
- Death as retaliatory abandonment
– Killing self to “get back at” person who abandoned you.
- Death as self-punishment
– Torturing/Killing self to atone for guilt/shame.
- Death as a means to end suffering, psychological pain and distress.
Historical Risk Factors
- Made a previous suicide attempt
- A victim of child abuse or witness to family violence
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
- Past or present Mental Illness
Challenges To Suicide Prevention
Soldiers who complete suicide:
- Rarely seek help through the chain of command, Chaplaincy or Behavioral Health (< 1/5 of all completed suicides have seen BH).
- Often don’t show “classic” warning signs of suicide in the unit.
- Frequently choose very lethal means and act privately, precluding rescue.
Suicide Risk is Highest When:
- The person sees no way out and fears things may get worse.
- The predominant emotions are hopelessness and helplessness.
- Thinking is constricted and dichotomous.
- Judgment is impaired by use of alcohol or other substances.
Suicide Warning Signs
- Obvious drop in duty performance
- Unkempt personal appearance
- Feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Perceived Burdensomeness
- Previous suicide attempts
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Social withdrawal
- Loss of interest in hobbies
- Loss of interest in sex
- Reckless behavior, self-mutilation
- Physical health complaints, changes/loss of appetite
- Complaints of significant sleep difficulties
Eminent Danger Suicide Signs
- Talking or hinting about suicide
- Formulating a plan to include acquiring the means to kill oneself
- Having a desire to die
- Obsession with death (music, poetry, artwork)
- Themes of death in letters and notes
- Finalizing personal affairs
- Giving away personal possessions
Risk Summary: SAD PERSONS
S- ex: Male
A- ge: Elderly, 15-24; especially for Caucasians
D- epression: Precedes suicide in up to 70%
P- revious Attempts: Most die on 1st or 2nd
E- thanol Use: Alcohol or sedative-hypnotics
R- ational Thinking Loss: Cognitive slowing, damage
S- ocial Support Deficit
O- rganized Plan: A specific plan and means
N- o Spouse: Especially within one year of divorce
S- ickness: comorbid medical illnesses