Archive for April, 2015

No Easy Solutions to Prevent Teen Suicide

Texas suicide lawyerAfter a young Texas teen died by suicide and his parents revealed he had been bullied, hundreds of supporters came out for a peaceful demonstration. The teen’s parents indicated that the bullying had gone on for weeks before the young man killed himself. The teen had obtained a gun from a friend, allegedly to protect himself and his family from the bullying occurring. His friend has now been arrested according to CBS Local, but the teen’s parents want the school to face accountability.

A suicide attorney knows that bullying is one top reason for teens to consider death by suicide. School officials claim that the district where the Texas teen had attended school is adamantly opposed to bullying. However, the supporters of the family of the teen who died want bullying to be discussed more openly and want stricter policies in place to protect young people.

Preventing Teen Death by Suicide Can Be Challenging

The school district insists that it did nothing wrong. The District stated that many interviews with students, counselors, and staff members had been conducted but that no prior reported incidents of bullying had preceded the teen’s death. Some bullying goes unreported or school officials may see bullying occur but not take formal steps to stop it.

School districts have a responsibility to their students, but there may be limited things the district can do to get kids to stop being mean or exclusionary to others. Young people should learn about the dangers of bullying from a young age and should be taught the behavior is unacceptable. These lessons must explained in a way that causes teens to understand and to respect their peers instead of subjecting anyone to bullying behavior.

An article on Palo Alto online describes how some California areas are responding to the risk of teen death by suicide following several recent deaths on Caltrain tracks. A Mental Health Association held a round-table discussion on ways to prevent death by suicide among youth, recognizing there are no easy fixes to the problem.

One pilot program being used is called Fire Within. Fire Within uses entrepreneurship and the support of teen peers to help students be more open about how they are feeling and to get a better understanding of the root causes of depression and teen suicide. The program involves peers talking to each other about depression and encourages teens to seek emotional support from each other in high stress environments.

The pilot program is being tried because of a belief that what schools have done so far to address the issues of bullying and teen death by suicide have not been working. There is no quick or easy solution to help kids cope with their depression or to stop bullying behaviors, but hopefully programs like this could be a step in the right direction.

A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can help. Call (214) 618-8222 or visit to schedule a free case consultation.

Suicide Attorney Skip Simpson Speaks to Mental Health Professionals at Training Conference

Suicide attorney Skip Simpson has provided legal representation to many families whose loved ones have died by suicide because of the failures of mental health professionals to provide appropriate care. Simpson believes – relating to suicide prevention – the mental health care system is broken and that implementing best practices  for suicide risk assessment would help to save thousands of lives every year. His goal is not to threaten care providers with lawsuits, but instead is to help secure compensation for victims and to help ensure that mental health professionals are as effective in preventing unnecessary deaths.

As one of the leading experts nationwide on the legal aspects of suicide resulting from the negligence of mental health providers, Simpson was recently asked to speak at a training seminar for mental health service professionals. The seminar was held in late February at the University of Denver. Mr. Simpson was invited to speak about how best practices for suicide prevention treatment can be implemented by health care providers to reduce risk and provide legal protections.

Simpson Talks to Mental Health Professionals About Treating At-Risk patients

The training seminar was attended by psychology students, psychiatrists, and psychologists, all of whom could treat patients who are at risk for an attempted suicide. The conference was called the Elevating the Conversation Conference. Simpson was asked to speak to the attendees about how to avoid suicide malpractice lawsuits while better caring for the suicidal patient.

Simpson cautioned providers that their care decisions should not be made based on a fear of being sued, as focusing on lawsuits could end up taking the attention off the patient. Providers must devote their full energy to focusing on meeting the needs of at-risk clients and identifying when someone may consider death by suicide.

Simpson also encouraged providers to avoid a “checklist mentality,” and to really hear what patients are saying. Insincere attitudes can be recognized by patients and doctors who focus on ticking off boxes of things they need to do to prevent lawsuits will not be effective at getting through to people who need help.

Over 100 people die by suicide daily in the United States, so any failure of the psychiatric care system can be very dangerous. Simpson believes there is a need for meaningful systematic change, especially since every suicide in a system should be preventable with the right mental health care. During the training seminar, Simpson discussed some of the best practices that could be followed for medical professionals to ensure they are following the recommended guidelines for suicide prevention.

Simpson also advised therapists and counselors to ensure they are documenting everything. The quality of documentation can mean the difference between being sued when a patient dies by suicide and not being sued.

If providers follow these recommendations and try to effectively manage suicide risk assessment, perhaps more deaths by suicide will be prevented.

A suicide attorney at the Law Offices of Skip Simpson can help. Call (214) 618-8222 or visit to schedule a free case consultation.