VISTAS Online is an innovative publication produced for ACA by Dr. Garry R. Walz and Dr. Jeanne C. Bleuer of Counseling Outfitters, LLC. Its purpose is to provide a means of capturing the ideas, information and experiences generated by the annual ACA Conference and selected ACA Division Conferences. Papers on a program or practice that has been validated through research or experience may also be submitted. This digital collection of peer-reviewed articles is authored by counselors, for counselors. VISTAS Online contains the full text of over 900 proprietary counseling articles published from 2004 to 2017.
SCATTT: A Suicide Intervention Plan Mnemonic for Use When Clients Present Suicide Intent
Gerald A. Juhnke, Gerald B. Juhnke, and Pei-Hsuan Hsieh
Over 36,000 Americans committed suicide in 2009 (National Center for Health Statistics [NCHS], 2011). This is the most recently available U.S. mortality data and equates to approximately one suicide every 15 minutes (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2011). Annually suicide is the 11th leading cause of U.S. deaths (NCHS, 2011). Suicide is also the second leading cause of death for persons ages 25 to 34; as well as the third leading cause of death for Americans ages 10 to 14 and 15 to 24; and the fourth leading cause of U.S. deaths among persons ages 35 to 44 and 44 to 54 (Centers for Disease Control [CDC], 2011). Despite these robust statistics, the numbers of annual U.S. suicides pale in comparison to those seriously considering suicide (Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration [SAMSHA], 2009) and the estimated number of annual suicide attempts commonly referred to as parasuicides (Granello & Juhnke, 2009). A 2008, first-of-its-kind, SAMSHA research study found 8.3 million U.S. adults had serious thoughts of committing suicide within the preceding year; 2.3 million U.S. adults created a serious suicide plan within the preceding 12 month period (SAMHSA, 2009). Parasuicides are failed suicide attempts that may have been either intentionally or unintentionally non-lethal. Estimates suggest approximately 25 parasuicides occur for each completed suicide (American Association of Suicidology, 2007; Granello & Granello, 2007; Juhnke, Granello, & Granello, 2010). If this estimate is true, approximately 900,000 parasuicides occur annually within the U.S. Interestingly, this estimate appears supported by the 660,000 persons admitted to U.S. hospital emergency departments due to parasuicide-related behaviors in 2008 (CDC, 2009) and does not take into account the numbers of persons who parasuicide who do not seek hospital services through emergency departments. Given the frequency of suicides and parasuicides, counselors should know how to respond to clients presenting with suicide intent.