Saturday, December 2, 2017

Suicide Awareness - The Fifth of a 7-Part Series

A quick reminder, we are still working with the charitable organization Cherish Families and Lindsay Hansen Park to help those who have left the FLDS group to have a merry christmas. If you can, please help and thank you to everyone who already has!

"Laura said she’d had the most meaningful conversations of her life on the [psych] ward because no one held anything back, and it was a relief to stop pretending that things were okay."

This is the fifth of our seven part series. Please check out the previous posts if you haven't already ( Part 1, Part Two, Part III, and Part 4). Now to the good stuff.

Professional Care, Part 2: Hospitalization

The process of entering a psychiatric ward is complicated and potentially problematic. Here are some tips:
  • Hospitalization is sometimes necessary and can be very helpful. Depressed people are able to receive medication much more quickly there, because hospitals are able to safely administer larger doses and titrate down, while psychiatrists working with patients outside the hospital must start with small amounts and slowly work up to an effective dose. Also, psych wards have teams that set up after-care (therapists, psychiatrists, and partial or outpatient programs) much more efficiently than we can.
  • Because certain factors increase the likelihood that someone will act on suicidal impulses, they also increase the need for hospitalization. If someone is willing to talk to you about their suicidal feelings, they want your help. Don’t be afraid to ask the key questions:
    • Have you ever attempted suicide?
    • Have you been hospitalized for depression?
    • Do you have a suicide plan?
    • If so, what is that plan?
    The more viable the plan, the more danger to the person. If the person has a specific plan that they are realistically able to implement, remove the means of suicide, don’t leave the person alone, and take them to an emergency room.
  • Make sure that you understand the local laws regarding psychiatric hospitalization, particularly because some counselors may be ignorant or in an excess of caution may gloss over certain things to get the desired result. The bottom line is that it’s almost always in the patient’s best interest to enter the hospital voluntarily. This enables the person to leave within a short amount of time, should they need to do so. Even more importantly, it makes hospitalization more of a choice. That makes it easier for the patient to trust and cooperate with care providers.
  • If a policy seems unreasonable, ask the nurses about it. Surprisingly, some of what we had been told at the emergency room about the psych ward’s rules turned out to be inaccurate and might have worsened Laura’s situation had we acted on it. We were able to get correct information from the nurses and by searching the internet for articles about state laws. You shouldn’t have to do research at such a time, but Google is your friend. [Editor's irrelevant note: I prefer DuckDuckGo]
  • Insurance may cover the cost of an advocate for a hospitalized patient. Advocates work directly with the patient, the family, and caregivers to ensure that needs are met. Although we did not have time to do so, I would suggest that anyone who is hospitalized for a psychiatric condition immediately ask mental health providers to recommend an advocate. Having someone who knows the system and can focus on the needs of one patient specifically will enhance the patient’s chances of receiving excellent care.
  • Being in a psych ward has its ups and downs. Laura said she’d had the most meaningful conversations of her life on the ward because no one held anything back, and it was a relief to stop pretending that things were okay. She became deeply engaged with the other patients and admired the care providers so much that she began to consider becoming an occupational therapist. The hospital set her up with a diagnosis, medication, and an excellent and conveniently located outpatient program. By the time she left, although she was still anxious and depressed she was no longer suicidal.
But confinement was hard for her. She longed to be outdoors and active. The food was not good. Some of her belongings were stolen. It was hard to sleep when nurses checked on her every fifteen minutes and other patients were screaming. For these reasons, even though Laura had not fully recovered when she left the hospital it was best to accept a short-term stay there and follow up with an outpatient program.

Tapir Signal is looking for volunteers in a variety of areas including housing, employment, and other practical concerns as well as LGBT issues and suicide awareness. Suicide awareness volunteers must be 21 or older. They should be mental health practitioners and/or have personal or close family experience with suicide.

If you are in need of help, you can reach us here.

If you are feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or 1-800-784-2433 (outside the US, these calls are free via Skype).

If you are LGBT+ and need to talk, please contact the LGBT National Hotline at 1-888-843-4564 or find them online here.

Know you are safe and among friends and we will do whatever we can to help.

Lastly, if you would like to be involved or volunteer, you can reach out to us here.

No comments:

Post a Comment