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 Author: crow
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 11:23 pm 
Cop1: The despair hung heavy in the air as we entered the home, our job is to locate and secure the weapon, there in a pool of blood near the victim of what appears to be his own self inflicted violence. We called the medics the all clear for them to enter and turned to the distraught, traumatized and grieving friends and family who may have witnessed or discovered the scene, who were now the living victims; and maybe not for the first time.

Crow: Not the first time?

Cop 1: In the 43 hour long Police Academy class in Behavior Management and Crisis Response we learn that a person who has previously attempted suicide is 5 to 6 times more likely to attempt it again and that up to 50% of people who die at their own hands have attempted it at least once before. This is a trend across the country.

Cop 2: More women attempt suicide then men but more men die from the attempt because men more often choose a gun where women more often prefer poison or drugs, prescription or street drugs. For many of us it is difficult and stressful to be in the presence of death or attempted death and adds greatly to the stressful nature of our work.

Doctor 1: As Psychiatrists (also as Psychologists) we know that the strongest (but not the only) driving force to suicide is depression and despair which also hinders those people in following through with treatment. Treatment ideally consists of a combination of medication and talking sessions; thats if they've been diagnosed at all. Schizophrenia and bipolar (once called manic-depressive) are high in the suicide deaths after previous attempts.

Crow: But many people stop taking their meds because they don't like the negative affects, either emotionally, mentally or physically.

Doctor1: This is true, that's why followup is so important.

Crow: Is the mental health care system here adequate?

Doctor 1: No

Cop 1: No.

Doctor 1: It used to be better but back in 2013 the governor had a paranoid episode, accused 15 Border Area Mental Health Services around the state of fraud, withdrew funding and brought in a group from Arizona who never really could replace what had been lost and after a time they left. Hidalgo Medical Services and Gila Regional were able to pick up some of the slack but much was left undone.

Crow: Most of the Border Area offices, including our own, were exonerated over 2 years latter but the damage was done and recovery has been slow . Did this disruption show in a spike of suicides?

Doctor 2: Not necessarily, but the suicide rate is not the only measurement of a community's mental health nor a community's willingness to deal with underlying mental issues and there results.

Crow: Do the various police departments get any ongoing training in dealing with their daily contact with mentally distraught people?

Cop 1: Yes, all of them, but it's not enough and now the woman, Detective Starr, who did those trainings has retired and she was vary good. Every 2 years we get 1 hour of domestic violence training and 2 hours of mental impairment training.

Cop 2: Not enough.

Crow: Two days before she retired from the Silver City PD I interviewed Detective Starr and ask her what the essential message she wanted her trainees to take away from her classes. Her response: and I paraphrase,< I want the officers to remember when encountering anyone and especially the emotionally or mentally distraught that these are people just like us and that this could easily happen to any one us as it has to them. I encourage you all to watch for stress and burnout and to take care of yourselves and seek counseling either through the Town supplied councilor or through your private insurance.> I ask her how that works out and she replied <everybody thinks they have it under control but this is a very high stress job.> And quietly, almost as an aside <it's kind of a macho thing> and she didn't mean just for the men cops.

I thought of their high divorce rate and high burnout rate brought home last year when a police captain killed his estranged partner and then himself to everybody's surprise.

Doctor 2: Indeed, in a work environment such as this everybody needs to watch for signs in each other, perhaps new and innovative programs could be offered on a more regular basis.

Crow: In a death from a drug overdose either with heroin or a prescription opioid, bought legally or on the street, and no suicide note was left can this skew the suicide rate? Is there an investigation done that would determine an answer? I'll ask the Medical Investigator.

MI: We find that generally suicide notes are left or a close friend or relative immediately before the suicide or somebody witnesses it. We don't investigate overdose deaths assuming they are accidental, but you"re correct some could be suicides. Unlike a drug OD we can generally, if a weapon or a poison is used, determine whether it was a suicide or homicide.

Crow: A comparative list of Grant County Suicides and Homicides: Note: (?) means incomplete data or ongoing investigations. Note also that for every suicide there are many more attempts or threats, for example for the First Quarter 2017 there was 1 suicide but 17 attempts and threats but for 2016 there were 8 suicides but 54 attempts and threats showing an increase of attempts and threats from 6.75 attempts or threats for every death to 17 attempts or threats and 1 death in the first quarter of 2017.

Year ----- Suicides ----- Homicides
2010 ----- 14 --------- 1
2011 ---- - 7 ---------- 4
2012 ------ 9 ---------- 1
2013 ------ 9 --------- 3
2014 ------ 11 -------- 1
2015 ------- 6 --------- 3
2016 ------- 8 --------- 3 (?)
First Quarter
2017 ------- 1 --------- 2 (?)

The above discussion was put together from individual interviews I had, since Part 1 (Read It HERE), with those portrayed. Their input during our interview has been paraphrased to lend a continuity to the information as if it had been a group discussion.

Suicide Prevention Hotline:
TTY 1-800/799-4889
Text Line 741-741

 Author: Infodigger
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 6:13 am 
This brought tears to my eyes. So real.

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