Dr. Wesley D. Willis, Psy.D., MSW, LCSW-R, BSN, RN-BC, CCM
Depression & Suicide
Depression is a state of mind in which we feel an overwhelming and inescapable melancholia. Suicide is one of the most common outcomes that a person inflicts on him/herself when depression reaches a clinical level. Many of us either feel inept in intervening or that we don’t play a role in intervening in suicidal or depressed thinking. Nurses often have similar feelings, when in fact their assistance, guidance and skills could be one of the more positive revelations that a person needs to overcome these feelings.
The nursing field is a very important extension of healthcare providers who make an impact on patient’s lives. The input and aid of nurses are vital to the well-being, recovery, and effects of the healthcare practitioner’s treatment process. As it stands today, there are nearly 43,000 successful suicides per year. Given the limited number of mental healthcare professionals to meet the demands of the increasing number of individuals seeking help, let alone support a connection with patient’s to prevent such negative consequences of depression this number will continue to rise. This makes suicide the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, as of 2014.
This translates into over 1 million suicide attempts per year!
Nurses have an ethical duty to save lives…from informing other healthcare professionals about an individual’s suicidal ideation or attempts to intervening in the negative feelings and providing hope. This is a process of utilitarianism in which all healthcare professionals focus on minimizing the cause and effects of pain, whether physical, mental or emotional, by attending to actions that increase pleasure. Though individuals’ have autonomy in the freedoms that decide what course of action to take or how to live his/her life, suicidal attempts and depression are two self-destructive effects that healthcare professionals want to make the effort to prevent.
By intervening in a person’s suicide attempt, other depressed and suicidal patients are encouraged to tell nurses along with other healthcare practitioners of their thoughts and attempts. Thus, nurses would have a greater ability to track patient’s situation and progress holistically. Resulting in establishing better responses and aids for those who did attempt or are thinking of suicide. All nurses have a mission in the lives of each client: to make ensure their safety and recovery. By not intervening, nurses are not aiding the client’s condition and treatment, but in fact going against the very ethics we stand for and uphold. Every client is distinct and unique in their thoughts, ideas, and reactions to their personal situations and status. As such, individuals need a specific type of attention that only nurses can give.