Cleeve Briere, Coordinator, Crisis Management Service, Assistant Director, Saskatoon Crisis Intervention Service addressed faculty at SIAST Kelsey on Thursday, November 8, 2012. The session was well-received by all participants.
Those in attendance learned that men direct their anger outward whereas women direct it towards themselves. When discussing suicide and its consequences the term is “completed suicide” not committed suicide as Cleeve noted, in the thirty years he has worked in the field, he has never met anyone committed to suicide. He also noted that in many circumstances that those completing suicide never meant to go that far, it was by accident that they completed suicide. Of note, was the fact that women attempt suicide three times more often then men, but men complete suicide more often as they use more lethal methods. Cleeve talked about many factors that protect us like having children, social supports and cultural supports. He said that in many cases people are beyond their capacity to cope when they attempt suicide.
Cleeve Briere also brought to out attention the article “Campus Suicide Prevention and Intervention: Putting Best Practice Policy into Action”, by Cheryl Washburn and Michael Mandrusiak published in the Canadian Journal of Higher Education, Vol. 40, No 1, 2010. This is a Canadian study which discusses what one Canadian University has attempted to do, focusing on seven broad intervention areas: “1) enhanced student connectedness and engagement; 2) increased community suicide awareness 3) gatekeeper training 4) collaborative identification and treatment of suicide 5) specialized training in assessment and treatment of suicide 6) increased accessibility to counselling services for at-risk students; and 7) enhanced crisis management policy and procedures.”
Also discussed was the Modified SAD Persons Scale which, while outdated, is still used due to its simplicity and the fact that individuals in the field need a common language. Cleeve noted that in a crisis situation the professional has approximately 26 minutes to diffuse the situation. Some of the factors on the SAD Persons Scale are Sex, Age, Depression or hopelessness, Previous attempts or psychiatric care, Excessive alcohol or drug use, Rational Thinking Loss; Separated, divorced or widowed, No social support ….
During the question period Cleeve noted that if suspecting something is not right it is okay to ask the person if they plan to harm themselves or plans to kill themselves. As well he said to ask open-ended questions such as, “What is your plan?”. If you have concerns you as a friend, relative or educator are welcome and encouraged to phone the Crisis Management Service (665-7000) to ask for assistance!
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