Take A Few Minutes to C.A.L.M.
Suicide was the second leading cause of death for people ages 15 to 34 in Indiana in 2015 and a leading cause for those of all ages. We know that many attempters are as ambivalent about suicide as they are about life. Preventing these suicides is a very complex puzzle that requires all of us to work collaboratively to complete the picture. One piece of that puzzle that has proven to be effective is to reduce access to lethal means – particularly firearms and medications.
The CALM workshop addresses why and how to do this focusing on the steps below. It includes: a power point presentation regarding why CALM is important, a model videotaped counseling session, and lots of time for discussion and/or role plays. It was developed by Elaine Frank and Dr. Mark Ciocca in New Hampshire .
Help is always available.
Three specific steps:
Tell the individual and/or the family directly that you believe that they may be at risk for suicide, and why you have determined that.
Explain that they can reduce the risk by reducing their access to lethal means, particularly firearms but also lethal medications.
Discuss specific steps they can take to remove or at least reduce access to firearms and other lethal means.
The use of a firearm leaves very little possibility for intervention or rescue. Firearms are the method used in more than 50% of all suicide deaths in the US. All US studies that have examined the question (15 to date) have found that a firearm in the home increases the risk of suicide two to five-fold compared to a home without a firearm.
Removing the Firearm
If removal is not an option, make the following suggestions:
Medications & Poisons
It may be more difficult to limit access to other means. However, it is important to take whatever steps are indicated to reduce access when feasible if the individual talks about using any of these.
Due to the difficulties in limiting access to lethal means, those considered actively suicidal are perhaps best protected by not being left alone. This requires having a number of caregivers available to share this difficult role along with the support and guidance of professionals regarding when to initiate and terminate this close supervision.