On the Road to Suicide Awareness

October 25, 2019 / Vin Lewin  / 
suicide awareness

In a way, when I reflect back over my career as a nurse, I feel I have been inexorably drawn toward suicide awareness and prevention.  As a shiny new registered nurse working on my first ward, I completed the admission process and risk documentation for a young man who had been experiencing feelings of hopelessness and isolation. He was traveling around the country working and his family was not in the city.  My initial assessment identified that one tangible trigger for the onset of his feeling suicidal was excessive alcohol consumption, and he told me that when he finished work, he would drink a litre of brandy and then start to feel like there was no point in going on with his life.  I went through all of the correct processes for admission and offered, what I thought at the time, was hope that there was a future where he would not feel like he currently did. I assured him that over the coming days we would get to know each other and together get to the bottom of why he felt like he did.  I showed him around the ward environment and took him to his bed bay, which was unoccupied as we had had three discharges that day. He seemed really settled and thankful that he was in a ‘safe place’. I went back to the nursing office to finish my risk assessment and I clearly identified that alcohol was a precipitating factor in the onset of his low mood and suicidal thoughts.