Daily Update: Saturday, September 10th, 2016

09-10 -World Suicide Prevention Day

We have no Saints to honor today, but today is World Suicide Prevention Day.

World Suicide Prevention Day (WSPD) is an awareness day observed on September 10th every year, in order to provide worldwide commitment and action to prevent suicides, with various activities around the world. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP), collaborates with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Federation for Mental Health, to host World Suicide Prevention Day. As of 2011, an estimated one million people per year die by suicide or “a death every 40 seconds or about 3,000 every day.” According to WHO there are twenty people who have a failed suicide attempt for every one that is successful, at a rate approximately one every three seconds. Suicide is the “most common cause of death for people aged 15 to 24.” More people die from suicide than from murder and war; it is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide. According to WHO, suicide accounts for nearly half of all violent deaths in the world. Brian Mishara, the president of, noted that, “more people kill themselves than die in all wars, terrorist acts and interpersonal violence combined.” The number of people who die by suicide is expected to reach 1.5 million per year by 2020. (The UN noted that suicide bombers’ deaths are seen as secondary to their goal of killing other people or specific targets and the bombers are not otherwise typical of people committing suicide.) In some countries, such as China, young people 15 to 34 years old are more likely to die by suicide than by any other means. With the exception of China, men commit suicide more often than women. In the Western world, males die three to four times more often by means of suicide than females do. I do know people who died by suicide, and I wish that I did not know anyone who died in this way.

Richard got up for a while after I went to sleep, and put our paychecks (which had hit the bank) into our checkbook.

Upon waking up I posted to Facebook that today was World Suicide Prevention Day. I did my Book Devotional Reading and put out the LSU flag. On our way to work we stopped at the ATM for cash, and I did my Internet Devotional Reading. Today was a Heavy Business Volume Day for the Sportsman Giveaway promotion. At the Pre-Shift Meeting I won an Early Out Ticket, which I promptly sold to a coworker who offered me $50.00 for it. On the casino floor, Richard was on Mini Baccarat. I was the Relief dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow. Halfway through our shift they closed Macau Mini Baccarat, and on my last rotation I broke the second Three Card Poker table. My contacts were bothering me, so at the end of the shift I tossed them and elected to wear my glasses for the rest of the day. 

Once home from work I set up my medications for next week (one prescription to renew on Monday). I then ate my lunch salad and read the morning paper while Richard paid bills. I did my storelist for Richard, and I went to the Adoration Chapel to do my Weekly Hour of Eucharistic Adoration while Richard went to Wal-Mart. During my Hour I finished reading the August 15th – August 22nd, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine, and started reading the August 27th – September 5th, 2016 issue of my Jesuit America magazine. When I got home I took a nap. I woke up unwillingly, plugged the bills Richard had paid into my Checkbook Pro app, and finished this Daily Update. Richard and I will now eat our dinner (he barbecued pork chops and made whole new potatoes), and watch our #21 LSU Tigers play their second College Football game with the Jacksonville State Gamecocks at home (on ESPN U), and I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Tomorrow is the Twenty-Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time. We have no Saints to honor, but tomorrow is Patriot Day, the anniversary of the World Trade Center / Pentagon Attack in 2001. Since tomorrow is the first Sunday after Labor Day, tomorrow is National Grandparents Day. And tomorrow is the birthday of our friend and co-worker Deborah at work (1954). We will work our eight hours at the casino, and I hope to continue reading We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler via Overdrive on my tablet on my breaks. In the early afternoon I will make lunch salads, then I will do my Sunday Daily Update. Our New Orleans Saints will play their first regular season NFL Football game at home with the Oakland Raiders in the noon game; if I go to sleep before the end of the game, I will report the score of the game in tomorrow’s Daily Update.

Our Saturday Afternoon Parting Quotes comes to us from Norman Farberow, American psychologist. Born in 1918 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he completed a tour of duty as a World War II Air Force Captain and enrolled in the University of California, Los Angeles. UCLA’s doctoral program in psychology afforded Farberow an opportunity to study suicide against centuries of shifting attitudes. With few relevant references to draw upon for his 1949 dissertation, Farberow saw the potential for reawakening “interest in a long-neglected, taboo-encrusted social and personal phenomenon.” Farberow earned his doctoral degree from UCLA in 1950 while working with veterans in the Veterans Administration Mental Hygiene Clinic. Soon his time as a psychotherapist became eclipsed by his continuing research on suicide with Dr. Edwin Shneidman, a colleague equally passionate about changing the understanding and prevention of self-inflicted death. During the 1950s the men worked together at the Veterans Administration (VA) in Los Angeles and sought answers for another jump in suicide rates—the sudden doubling of suicides among the VA’s neuropsychiatric hospital patients. At the same time, a survey they had conducted of L.A.-area hospitals, clinics, and emergency rooms revealed that no provisions existed for the follow-up care of suicide attempters. Farberow and Shneidman shared their findings with the National Institute of Mental Health and the VA and proposed the creation of two agencies: a community-based Referral Center for treating the psychological problems of the suicidal, and a Central Research Unit for assessing and investigating suicide among veterans within the VA. The name of the “Central Research Unit for the Study of Unpredicted Death” shows that Farberow and Shneidman at first had to hide the nature of their work, due to the stigma that existed about suicide. In 1958 Farberow and Shneidman launched the nation’s first center of its kind, the Los Angeles Suicide Prevention Center (LASPC) with the psychiatrist Robert E. Litman, M.D., as its director. Together, the three men developed a scientific, methodologically sound, and professionally conceived organization where a social and professional vacuum had once existed. The objective of the agency (to provide a center for the follow-up care of suicidal patients discharged after treatment in the Los Angeles County Hospital) changed in the first year as calls came in from people in crisis. Capitalizing on the opportunity to intervene and avert a suicide attempt broadened the Center’s objective to include crisis intervention and 24-hour accessibility of professionals or rigorously trained non-professionals. These efforts led to the development of the L.A. Scale for Assessment of Suicidal Potential and the crisis hotline. As the LASPC’s reputation as an informed referral center grew, collaboration with the coroner’s office, mental health professionals, police, probation, schools, and other organizations created the awareness needed to demystify suicide’s taboo and give hope to those who were suffering. Through writing, teaching, training, and publishing, LASPC directors disseminated their principles for the organization and functioning of a suicide prevention and crisis intervention community agency. Their principles are still in use today and serve as models in community agencies around the world. The LASPC is now part of a comprehensive mental health facility based in Culver City, California, known as Didi Hirsch Mental Health Services. Farberow rated as the most significant impacts of his work to be the lessening of the taboos related to suicide, so that the cry for help could be both more readily voiced and more easily heard. The awareness created by Farberow, Shneidman, and Litman stimulated a growth in publications on all aspects of suicide. The conundrum of suicide maintained its challenge. Farberow examined the shifting nature of risk within a variety of subgroups, including police officers, gay men, the obese, schizophrenics and other psychiatric patients, youth, adolescents, the aged, and the chronically and terminally ill. He evaluated and developed scales for assessing suicide risk in various levels of public schools and universities; offered recommendations to doctors, nurses, and hospitals; assisted in addressing the problems of the coroner and the bereaved; provided expert witness testimony for numerous trials; and consulted with both professional and Hollywood filmmakers. His work broadened to include crisis intervention with the publication of guidelines for human service and child health care workers in large-scale natural disasters. Throughout his career, Farberow was prolific in publishing his observations, research findings, and clinical insights. He wrote 16 books, 50 chapters in other books, 93 articles, three monographs, four manuals, three brochures, 13 book reviews, six forewords, three Veterans Administration Medical Bulletins, and one module. His books and articles have been translated into Japanese, Finnish, German, Swedish, French, Spanish, and Korean. The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) established the Farberow Award to recognize his treatment model for survivors of suicide by loved ones. It was inaugurated in 1997 and is presented to those who provide outstanding contributions in the field of bereavement and suicide survivors. Farberow’s ingenuity was influential internationally: in the doctrines of mental health clinics and educational institutions, and in virtually any community that relies on established protocol to address the problem of suicide. Farberow’s penetrating insights, sincere vision, and lifelong perseverance helped turn this once heavily taboo-laden topic into a legitimate health concern, making resources available to people interested in suicide research, treatment, and prevention worldwide (died 2015): “It’s always impressive to me how far you can go in providing simple companionship to prevent a suicide, even if a person is just simply available to a telephone call.”

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