“Suicide Prevention is Everyone’s Business”

Sourced: Duing Nhan

Co-director of the NSU Suicide and Violence Prevention Office and psyhcology professor Scott Poland will be heading a discussion on suicide prevention on Thursday, Sept. 26 from 2 – 4 p.m., which will take place in the Adolfo and Marisela Cotilla Gallery located on the second floor of the Alvin Sherman Library. 


As suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between ages 10-34, Poland hopes to hone in on different aspects of prevention. He broke these down into three main points. First, the audience will learn about suicide prevention, which involves detecting signs of a person who is suicidal. Second, Poland will discuss intervention or what to do once you have identified a potentially suicidal individual. Third, he will discuss the sad matter of 8: Postvention, which he described as “a series of planned activities to help everybody in the aftermath cope with their grief and confusion.”


Beyond that, those that attend the discussion will learn about misperceptions and myths regarding suicide and resources for suicide prevention. Specifically, Poland will speak on the Means Matter campaign, which promotes the idea that taking away the available means to commit suicide will reduce suicide rates. 


To expand, Poland says, “There’s a variety of research from all over the world: you take away the lethal means, which in America most prominently is the gun, you raise the barrier on the bridge, and suicide rates go down. People talk about suicide as if it is someone’s fate or destiny, but it is a very situational problem. Most people that are stopped from committing suicide or those people that actually survive an attempt never go on to make another attempt.”


In addition, participants will learn about mass clusters and point clusters. Mass clusters involve an increase in suicides over a cluster of time and are associated with celebrity or media influence while point clusters are geographically based. Poland shared that adolescents are especially susceptible in these cases as they are more likely to imitate suicidal behaviors.


For those that cannot attend the event, Poland advises that, “the most important thing [in suicide prevention is to not be] afraid to ask.” He said that we should avoid giving those we are concerned about pep talks or otherwise dismissing their emotions. Instead, we must focus on listening, reaching out and being there throughout an individual’s recovery process.


Poland also noted that although most mass shooters in the U.S. have been suicidal, the vast majority of suicidal individuals never have any thoughts of harming anyone but themselves. Therefore, you should not feel afraid to approach any suicidal individual. 


“I hope that we will increase awareness of the problem of suicide in our country and everyone will have better understanding of what to look for and what to do. I hope they’ll know the warning signs of suicide and the guidelines of prevention,” Poland stated in regards to his hopes for the event.


Those interested in having Poland or another member of the NSU Suicide and Violence Prevention Office speak at an event may make a reservation online at www.nova.edu/webforms/suicideprevention.

Leave a Reply