Suicide prevention: Everyone has important role to play

WASHINGTON — Every loss of a service member, veteran or family member is a tragedy. There’s no simple reason why suicide occurs, nora single approach for preventing it. Suicide is a complex issue with biological, cultural, economic, psychological and social factors.

Interventions such as psychotherapy and prescription medication are critically important in helping to prevent suicide. But according to the2015 Department of Defense Suicide Event Report, only about 30 percent of service members who died by suicide were previously seen by behavioral health providers. That’s why preventing suicide requires a public health approach that includes the entire community.

One strategy is to use the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale, or C-SSRS, to identify individuals at risk for suicide. Based on more than 20years of scientific research, C-SSRS is a series of questions anyone can use to evaluate whether someone is at risk for death by suicide. The questions cover whether and when a person has thought about suicide, what actions he or she may have taken to prepare, and if a previous suicide attempt was considered but then aborted because of a last-minute change of heart or an intervention.

 

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