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Knowledge re: suicide and how we can help

Posted

Specializes in surgical, neuro, education. Has 22 years experience.

I have read several articles recently about the high rate of suicide in Dr's. I am sure it is a problem with all health care workers, I lost both my brothers to suicide (one in 1997 and one in 2001) I am posting this to help all nurses with education regarding this sad and devastating loss. Personally I look at suicide as cancer of the soul. But I realize that many nurses still think that it is a cop out and done to hurt family members who are left.

Please familarize yourself with the American Foundation for prevention of suicide. (http://www.afsp.org) Every health care worker needs to understand the warning signs--just as we have had MI and stroke education. MAny times it is coexisting with substance abuse as a means of self medication and with bipolar disease. But even if these are not an issue--a loved one or patient can end up dead by suicide.

It is hard for family and friends to deal with death in this manner because there is so much sadness, anger, confusion, and even embarassment. I never realized how common it is for more than one member in a family (or a group of friends) can be at higher risk when someone close to them commits suicide. I have had comments about how selfish this act was from well meaning friends. But I watched the downward spiral with my youngest brother and missed cues from my middle brother. I also remember having patients on the acute care units I have worked on over the years and the comments that are made by staff during report.

March is suicide awareness month. Please stop and think that mental illness is a disease just like any other physical problem. I am now an only child...and my mom and dad will never be the same. Neither will I, but I am chosing to do something positive by educating the public and I believe this starts with the medical community. If you know of anyone who has symptoms of depression or has expressed the idea of killing themself---please please don't hesitate to do whatever you can to help them. If you have fallen into that dark well yourself and think there is no other way out--contact your suicide hotline.

Many uninsured can fall through the cracks (and even insured as they will only cover so many mental health visits--most with copays.) I miss my brothers every day and treasure my children while being scared to pieces that they may inherit substance abuse or depression. If this post changes even one mind about how you look at patients or friends or loved ones--even yourself, I will feel like I accomplished something tonight.:crying2:

Take care of yourself physically and emotionally. All my prayers--Cheryl sis to Danny and Doug.

ozoneranger

Specializes in Acute post op ortho. Has 30 years experience.

Nurses are four times more likely to commit suicide compared with people working outside medicine, figures reveal.

And doctors are twice as likely to kill themselves compared with people working in other professions.

Overwork, stress and easy access to drugs are being blamed for high suicide rates within medicine.

Staff shortages, long waiting lists and the stress of working with the sick and dying are seen as factors.

The figures coincide with the publication of a survey by Nursing Standard magazine that showed that more than two thirds of nurses who suffer from depression blame work for their condition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/944503.stm

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In 2000 I was working with a nurse that was such a wonderful lady. Her husband was lazy, mean & worthless. They were very deep in debt, thanks to his spending like there was no tomorrow. She felt trapped & alone. One morning she didn't show up for work, didn't answer the phone, so we had the police go to her home. She was found dead in her bed. No autopsy was ordered, it appeared she'd died in her sleep.

Weeks later, I found out from a neighbor that she'd cooked months worth of meals, then labeled & froze 'em. She'd left notes to her husband about bills that were due....she'd been planning for a very long time.

It was during that conversation that I remembered her telling me that if she ever decided to commit suicide, she'd take humulin R from work, inject it into her arm pit at bedtime & dispose of the syringe before her BGL bottomed out. That way her insurance would still pay & her hubby could get out of debt.

I still cry when I think of her, she told me exactly what she was going to do. I feel so stupid for not paying attention to what she'd told me.

Hind sight may be 20/20.

But foresight is priceless.

Nurses are four times more likely to commit suicide compared with people working outside medicine, figures reveal.

And doctors are twice as likely to kill themselves compared with people working in other professions.

Overwork, stress and easy access to drugs are being blamed for high suicide rates within medicine.

Staff shortages, long waiting lists and the stress of working with the sick and dying are seen as factors.

The figures coincide with the publication of a survey by Nursing Standard magazine that showed that more than two thirds of nurses who suffer from depression blame work for their condition.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/944503.stm

*********************************************************

In 2000 I was working with a nurse that was such a wonderful lady. Her husband was lazy, mean & worthless. They were very deep in debt, thanks to his spending like there was no tomorrow. She felt trapped & alone. One morning she didn't show up for work, didn't answer the phone, so we had the police go to her home. She was found dead in her bed. No autopsy was ordered, it appeared she'd died in her sleep.

Weeks later, I found out from a neighbor that she'd cooked months worth of meals, then labeled & froze 'em. She'd left notes to her husband about bills that were due....she'd been planning for a very long time.

It was during that conversation that I remembered her telling me that if she ever decided to commit suicide, she'd take humulin R from work, inject it into her arm pit at bedtime & dispose of the syringe before her BGL bottomed out. That way her insurance would still pay & her hubby could get out of debt.

I still cry when I think of her, she told me exactly what she was going to do. I feel so stupid for not paying attention to what she'd told me.

Hind sight may be 20/20.

But foresight is priceless.

(((hugs)))That is so sad. I agree about 20/20 hindsight. At my last hospital a similar situation happened with a nurse. I didn't know her because she worked a different unit. It makes me very sad to repeat the details so I'll just say that I now stay on the look out for signs of suicidal thoughts. As a person who once went through a bad event and spiraled into depression I often recommend therapy. It helped me.

zumalong

Specializes in surgical, neuro, education. Has 22 years experience.

If your life has been touched by death by suicide--please don't let the would haves, could haves, should haves take over. Hindsight is 20/20 for everything we do. The statistics are scary as heck and I am afraid they are only going to get worse as our economy becomes more and more deeper in debt. We all learn to live at the level of our income and if it is decreased or taken away--many don;t know what to do.

If there is anyone out there who wants to PM me or is in crisis--please dont hesitate to reach out. I dream that these statistics will get better one day.

oh! this is so sad..it's a very good thing that none of the nurses i've worked with so far ahsn't done anything like it. It's soo horrible. Though i must admit, i have one of them thoughts when i was still in college. It was really due to stress with OJT, requirements, skul work, exams..overloading..The bad thing was we were only being told that.."Isn't that what nursing is? Tiresome but rewarding in the end?" If thet instructor only knew the means they're giving us..I hate recalling it, though. Thanks to a very good friend. I came over it. So, it's wise to have quality friends. Be with them. People you can trust. I understand it's difficult to open up to our parents, somehow, friends are there. As long as, we should put into our mind that family's still the PILLAR and true source of inner strength and will to live and love :)

Babs0512

Specializes in Med surg, Critical Care, LTC. Has 20 years experience.

Sometimes, there are no warning signs.

Our son committed suicide on February 23, 2004. He was 22 years old. He chose to hang himself from his weight equipment, he was in a sitting position with his bottom about an inch from the floor.

The night before, he called to tell us he was going to ask his longtime girlfriend to marry him - but he never got to do so, he killed himself before he got to ask.

We've all played the woulda, shoulda, coulda game - which serves no purpose whatsoever - there will always be things we could have done differently, if only we had known.

Just know that their are people who kill themselves with NO warning - even looking back, no one in the family suspected a thing.

Thanks for listening

Babs

Stumbled on this site...http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

“Suicide is not chosen; it happens

when pain exceeds

resources for coping with pain.”

ozoneranger

Specializes in Acute post op ortho. Has 30 years experience.

This is an excellent resource for children affected by suicide or the death of a loved one.

http://www.judishouse.org/

My father committed suicide on my ninth birthday. I spent years believing he picked my birthday as a way of telling me it was my fault....:cry:

If you apply logic to that idea Ozoneranger it should fall apart.

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