Two Suicide Prevention Methods

By Net. No, that’s not internet. Psych Central has an interesting article about the San Francisco suicide prevention net to be placed under the Golden Gate Bridge. There had been talk about building various barriers, but the net is the one solution that doesn’t block tourists’ view of the bridge. It has been observed that such barriers do not increase the rate of suicide at nearby bridges — suggesting that suicide attempts by jumping tend to be impulsive, rather than premeditated.

By Video. The high rate of suicide in the military is not news, but video prevention is a fairly new method of treatment. The department of defense has been tinkering with a video game for treating soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The Washington Post ran this story on a new anti-suicide video game last week.

Alarmed by a record rate of suicide in its ranks, the Army yesterday unveiled a unique prevention tool — an interactive video to be mandatory viewing Army-wide — in which soldiers will play the role of an anguished infantryman and make virtual choices that lead the
character to get help or, in the worst case, shoot himself in the head.

And the Post article included some of the all-too-familiar statistics:

The video is one of several initiatives launched by the Army to try to stem the suicide rate among active-duty soldiers. That rate increased from 12.4 per 100,000 in 2003, when the Iraq war started, to 18.1 per 100,000 last year.

This year, 93 active-duty soldiers killed themselves through the end of August, the latest data show. A third of those cases are under investigation by the Armed Forces Medical Examiner’s Office. In all of 2007, 115 soldiers committed suicide. Suicide attempts by soldiers have also increased since 2003.


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Clinical Psychologist practicing in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles, California.

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