The Lost: Victims of Inpatient Suicide

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reported that in 2016, the most recent year statistics are available,  an average of 44,965 people completed suicide in the Unisted States alone.  That is 123 a day... 5 deaths an hour... 1 every 11.5 minutes.

In 2003, renown suicidologists Jan Fawcett, Doug Jacobs and K.A. Busch reported in their publication, "Clinical Correlates of Inpatient Suicide," that of the 30,000 suicides that year  (2003) in the U.S., 5% to 6% occur in hospitals."  If we extrapolate that percentage across the current 2016 statistics, the number for inpatient suicides now ranges between 2248 and 2698 per year.  That is approximately 7 per day.



        Why, then, does the public not know of these cases?  The answer is simple...

Since suicide is most often perceived as a "choice," even within the medical and mental health fields, the victim is often held to blame.  It's called, "Blaming the Victim."  When a suicide happens, one of the most closely held and often verbalized beliefs among mental health professionals is, "When a person wants to kill him/herself, there is nothing you can do to stop them."  Break the Silence (BTS) would like to know:  How can any mental health patient be safe when this belief is widely expressed and often the excuse and rationale given from the mental health community when an inpatient suicide happens?

The truth is, people who have attempted suicide yet have lived to talk about it express quite the opposite sentiments.  Afterwards, they often express that they feel blessed to still be alive...that they truly wanted to live but just wanted to live without the mental pain and anguish they were experiencing at the time of their attempt.  They tried to complete suicide not to end their life but to end their PAIN.  Thus, it's the getting people safely through their pain and to the other side that is paramount.  We cannot allow our caregivers to subscribe to the belief that, "If they want to do it there's nothing you can do to stop them."  We say, "YES there is."  Keep them safe and get them through their crisis.