Suicide Prevention Training for Nurses
By: Shayla Murphy
Picking an applied project was difficult for me at first. I sat there and pondered what I could do that would give me real world applied experience in my field. I finally came up with the idea of contacting one of my old professors at PSU, Elaine Demello, who taught Mental Health in Society. She also works full time at NAMI in Concord, NH. She talked to many of her coworkers who said they would think of different opportunities for me be a part of. Luckily for me, Ann Duckless, who also works for NAMI, reached out to me and gave me the opportunity to attend and help her run one of her seminars.
Working with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI NH) organization was a wonderful experience for me. I attended and help them run the Suicide Prevention Training for Nurses, led by Ann Duckless. Throughout this experience I met several very nice and caring nurses who had a passion for mental health and suicide prevention. From the training seminar, I took away many valuable knowledge about the topic of suicide.
One of the most important things that I learned was that it is not okay to say things like, “that person is suicidal,” that insinuates that the only thing that defines them is suicide. Instead you should say that person made an attempted to take their life. Another example would be, “she has 3 failed suicide attempts.” You should not use the world failed, because it is not a failure that she is still alive today, it is a success. It is extremely crucial to use the correct and appropriate terminology when talking about the topic of suicide, because the terminology you use can greatly affect how that person feels about themselves.
During the seminar, we also watched a video about a man named Kevin Heines, who attempted to take his life by suicide when he jumped off the golden gate bridge. He talks about his mental illnesses and why he felt like he had no other choice put to take his own life. This video is inspiring and deeply pulled at my heart strings. For my applied project presentation I will be showing this video, and allowing people to ask me any questions they may have relating to suicide and/or mental illnesses.
The goal that I wanted to accomplish through my applied project was to gain knowledge on some aspect of the mental health field. I hadn’t exactly thought of focusing in on suicide prevention, however NAMI asked me to help organize and attend that specific seminar. I learned a lot about the topic of suicide, I truly enjoyed the seminar, and I loved meeting people who share the same passion as I do. Overall I think my applied project was a success, and I am excited to use this knowledge to help me with my future career path as a psychiatric nurse.