Practice Tip of the Week: Suicide Prevention Resources for Nurses
Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Posted by: Nadia Tamez-Robledo
By Ellen Martin, PhD, RN, CPHQ
Director of Practice
Texas Nurses Association
Death by suicide is becoming a leading cause of death, and rates of death by suicide have increased by 26 percent since 1999. There has been a significant amount of media coverage recently. Professionals and parents are discussing the Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” a drama-mystery series in which a high school student details the reasons why she ended her life. Just last week the news reported on an 8-year-old child’s apparent death by suicide after bullying at school. Since May is Mental Health Month, this Practice Tip we will review some suicide prevention resources available for nurses and other health professionals.
Suicide prevention begins with identifying individuals at risk. There are many risk assessment tools that can be used during healthcare encounters. A collection of screening and risk assessment resources are available in the Zero Suicide Toolkit. The next issue of Texas Nursing which includes a feature story on a suicide prevention screening initiative at Parkland Hospital that includes actions to take when a person is identified at increased risk.
Recognizing warning signs is only part of the solution. New research indicates that for some families, the “warning signs were a daily fact of life, not a new red flag.” This indicates that some persons may be at “chronic risk” and suicide prevention may be more complicated and prevention may require targeted interventions in some populations.
One public health concern is suicide contagion. This has been defined as the exposure to suicide or suicidal behaviors through media reports of suicide and can result in an increase in suicide and suicidal behaviors. To address this issue, a coalition developed recommendations and resources on a website: Reporting on Suicide.org. This website provides best practices and recommendations on media reports of death by suicide. The work is based on over 50 studies on suicide contagion.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
This confidential service provides people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, or those around them, with support, information, and local resources 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at no charge. Logic’s new song, “1-800-273-8255” is an example of positive suicide prevention messaging. In a 7-minute YouTube video the artist shares the story of the origins and intent of the song and captures the potential of what positive suicide prevention messaging could accomplish.
The Veterans Crisis Line and Military Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 connects veterans and service members in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text.
Other Mental Health Resources
- National Alliance on Mental Illness works to change the way the world sees mental health. StigmaFree
- This is my brave is a collection of stories of mental health and experiences of illness. “One day we will live in a world where we won’t have to call it “brave” when talking about mental illness. We’ll just call it talking.”