A Resource for Counsellors
More people commit suicide each year than die in all the world’s combined conflicts. The assistance of counselling professionals in the prevention of suicide, on a world wide scale, is critically and clearly needed.
Suicide results from a complex interaction of biological, genetic, psychological, sociological, and environmental factors. Improved community detection, referral, and management of suicidal behavior are important steps in suicide prevention. The critical challenge of such prevention is to identify people who are at risk and vulnerable; to understand the cicumstances that influence their self destructive behavior; and to effectively structure interventions. Consequently, counsellors need to develop community based initiatives for preventing as well as managing suicidal behavior.
The practive of professional counselling is defined as the application of mental health, psychological, or human development principles, through cognitive, affective, behavioral or systemic intervention strategies. By using these startegies, professional counsellors address wellness, personal growth, and career development issues, as well as mental health pathology. Counsllellors have graduate training and education and often work in schools, colleges and universities, career agencies, substance abuse facilities, and clinics and hospitals.
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A Resource for General Physicians
One of the worst things a physician has to face is the suicide of a patient. The common reactions experienced by physicians who have gone through such an event are disbelief, loss of confidence, anger and shame. The suicide of a patient can trigger feelings of professional inadequacy, doubts about one’s competence and fear for one’s reputation.
In addition, physicians confront the enormous difficulty of dealing with the family and friends of the deceased. These resources are intended primarily for general physicians. Their objective is to outline the main disorders and other factors associated with suicide, and to provide information on the identification and management of suicidal patients.
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A Resource for Primary Health Care Workers
The Size of The Problem
• One million people are likely to commit suicide in the year 2000, worldwide.
• Every 40 seconds a person commits suicide somewhere in the world.
• Every 3 seconds a person attempts to die.
• Suicide is among the top three causes of death among young people aged 15 – 35 years.
• Each suicide has a serious impact on at least six other people.
• The psychological, social and financial impact of suicide on the family and community is immeasurable.
Suicide is a complex problem for which there is no single cause, no single reason. It results from a complex interaction of biological, genetic, psychological, social, cultural and environmental factors.
It is difficult to explain why some people decide to commit suicide while others in a similar or even worse situation do not. However, most suicides can be prevented.
Suicide is now a major public health issue in all countries. Empowering primary health care staff to identify, assess, manage and refer the suicidal person in the community is an important step in suicide prevention.
Why Focus On Primary Health Care Staff?
• Primary health care staff have a long and close contact with the community and are well accepted by local people.
• They provide the vital link between the community and the health care system.
• In many developing countries where mental health services are not well developed, they are often the primary source of health care.
• Their knowledge of the community enables them to gather support from family, friends and organizations.
• They are in a position to offer continuity of care.
• They are often the entry point to health services for those in distress.
In short, they are available, accessible, knowledgeable, and committed to providing care.
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A Resource Guide for Agency, Management and Personnel
Purpose of this Guide;
People at risk of suicide are seen in a wide variety of settings. Within the social and health services community, caregivers are likely to come into contact with suicidal clients frequently. This is true whether or not the specific mandate of the organization is the care of those at risk of suicide.
In fact, since suicidal feelings are common among many depressed or troubled clients, it is undesirable to have specific services that deal with just suicide. Suicidal feelings are outward manifestations of other problems like abuse, low self-esteem, family violence, mental illness, substance abuse and tragic loss.
The goal of this resource guide is to increase education and awareness on the topic of suicide and encourage organization to implement suicide prevention protocols / guidelines that would assist employees to respond to at risk individuals. With increased knowledge, it is our hope that the incidence of suicide and suicide attempt in Champlain East will be reduced.
This guide represents a compilation of suicide prevention information from various sources as noted throughout the document. The Suicide Prevention Coalition is not the sole author of this document.