Archive for the ‘suicide lawyer’ Category

Gun violence is an American public health crisis decades in the making

A black handgun on a table next to bullets

When someone has suicidal thoughts, an otherwise rational person can be overwhelmed, unable to think clearly, and irrationally end their life being unable to consider the consequences of their actions.

During these periods, it is absolutely vital to prevent that person from having the ability to take their own life, which is why gun control and gun safety can play a major role in suicide prevention.

The American Association of Suicidology was pleased to learn about newly elected President Joe Biden’s recently announced actions on tackling gun violence and for remembering to address suicides in that context.

Although the headlines tend to focus on gun violence that occurs during a criminal act, the majority of deaths caused by firearms in America are suicides. Furthermore, in America, just over half of all completed suicides in 2019 were caused by a firearm, which amounted to nearly 25,000 deaths.

“The Biden administration has announced a series of initiatives aimed at reducing the burden of gun violence in America,” said Michael Anestis, PhD, Co-Chair of AAS’s Firearms and Suicide Committee and Executive Director of the New Jersey Gun Violence Research Center. “The American Association of Suicidology is grateful that, in doing so, the administration specifically mentioned firearm suicide.”

What are red flag laws?

One of the notable policies that President Biden outlined was having the Justice Department publish examples of so-called “red flag” laws that states would be able to pass.

A Red Flag law would allow for an individual to request a court order that would temporarily bar another person who has presented a danger to themselves or others from buying a gun.

For example, if someone has repeatedly expressed suicidal ideations, their brother, spouse or relative could file a request to make sure that person wouldn’t have access to a firearm that could potentially be used in a suicide attempt.

“Pursuing data-driven solutions like extreme risk protection orders is a meaningful first step and a sign that the Administration is willing to actively pursue data-driven life saving measures to prevent firearm suicide,” Anestis said.

Easy access to firearms poses a risk

It must be pointed out that firearm ownership does not create suicidal ideation or make a non-suicidal person more likely to consider suicide.

What firearms do is increase the risk of death by suicide as an estimated 85%-95% of all suicide attempts involving a firearm result in death. This is a much higher percentage than many other methods of attempting suicides.

For comparison, the most common method of attempting suicide is by intentionally overdosing, which has estimated to be deadly in 2-3% of attempts.

Although firearm ownership does not cause or increase suicidal ideation, firearm access does increase suicide risk among members of a home where a firearm is present, particularly if the firearms are unlocked and loaded in the home.

Responsible firearm ownership, which includes safely securing firearms in a gun safe or storing them outside the home, can go a long way toward lowering this risk.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and help families navigate what is an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide. If you have a loved one who has committed suicide via firearm, contact Skip Simpson today.

Identifying suicide risk in cancer patients

A doctor looks at x-rays on a tablet

A diagnosis of cancer is always going to be a traumatic experience in a person’s life regardless of circumstance as it heralds a long struggle to recover, a significant amount of pain in the future, and in some cases the possibility of death.

However, proper cancer treatment should not and cannot be limited to just treating the physical symptoms. Cancer can also cause significant damage to a person’s mental state, so it is just as important that cancer patients receive adequate care for their psyche.

Although suicidal ideation can affect anyone in nearly any circumstance, studies have shown that people who have been diagnosed with cancer have at least double the risk of dying by suicide as the average person, with the risk being the highest right after diagnosis. The level of risk increase varies based on the type of cancer diagnosed, with cancers affecting the head, neck, pancreas, and larynx being among those with the highest risk.

There is confusing data regarding exactly what it is about cancer that increase suicide ideation, given that the disease often creates a sense of hopelessness, depression, and in some cases a wish to hasten death.

However, the risk of suicide ideation is increased significantly if a patient felt their dignity and quality of life deteriorating. For example, a study on patients with stomach cancer showed that suicide risk increased significantly if their caner caused bowel distress. Similarly, patients who experience significant pain are at higher risk of suicide, which is a large reason a key component of cancer treatment should be pain management.

Similar to the treatment of depression

The treatment for suicidal ideations in cancer patients is very similar to the treatment of depression in the general population. Cancer patients need adequate psychological care and therapy that is sometimes supplemented by pharmaceuticals, though great care is required to ensure any mood-altering medications don’t interfere with cancer treatments.

Some level of psychotherapy is critical for a patient to adjust to the new challenges those diagnosed with cancer will face as well as to help them set new goals for the future and maintain a healthy outlook on life.

One of the major issues when it comes to dealing with suicidal ideation in cancer patients is that many health care providers do not believe they are adequately prepared to discuss suicide prevention and mental health, nor do they feel they have the ability to provide the appropriate care and resources to people experiencing suicidal ideation.

This study is quite alarming as it shows that many places are unable to provide the full breadth of treatment needed to ensure a patient’s well-being in the event of a cancer diagnosis.

Suicide and cancer are two of the top 10 causes of death among adults living in the United States, and people who are diagnosed with cancer are at a much higher risk of dying by suicide due to a variety of biological and psychological factors. As such, cancer patients must be able to receive quality mental health care in addition to treating the physical symptoms.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and help families navigate what is an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide, so if a loved one was diagnosed with cancer and died by suicide after receiving inadequate mental health care, contact attorney Skip Simpson today.

How the COVID-19 pandemic impacts youth mental health

COVID-19 mental health

Living through the COVID-19 pandemic these past 12 months has been stressful for just about everyone. The strain on mental health has been especially noticeable among pre-teens and teenagers. Studies have shown a significant surge in suicidal ideation in young people during several months of the pandemic, leading to concerns that the risk of suicide is rising in an already vulnerable population.

Even during the best of times, adolescence is a time when many mental health problems emerge as young brains develop and struggle with the challenges of growing up. Add in the strain of increased isolation from their friends, the loss of stress-relieving after-school activities, uncertainty about when they will be able to return to a regular classroom, and the fears that their world might never be the same again. This all has placed tremendous pressure on young people and their families.

Addressing youth mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Some of the stories of youth suicides during the pandemic have been heartbreaking. In Texas, a 12-year-old boy died by suicide in April 2020 after being unable to cope with the isolation of remote schooling. In Connecticut, a 17-year-old football player and straight-A student died by suicide in February when depression overwhelmed him. In Las Vegas, a rash of student suicides prompted the school superintendent to decide to reopen schools. Now more than ever, it is vital for parents, teachers, and relatives to ensure that their loved ones receive the appropriate attention and treatment for mental health struggles.

No one knows for sure if adolescent suicides have increased this year because the data on suicides for the past 12 months has yet to be compiled by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Experts are concerned about getting adolescents the help they need to weather the pandemic, however. They say parents must teach their children to use all of the proper safety precautions including masks and social distancing so that they can get some outdoor social interaction, even if it is something brief, such as walking through a park or going for a bike ride. Spending too much time indoors with no one to talk to can make a young person feel miserable and increase the risk of suicide.

When socializing with others isn’t possible, parents need to check in with their kids and not be afraid to have serious conversations that allow them to share their concerns and fears. Experts suggest asking questions about how they are coping with the pandemic and, if they seem depressed, asking them directly if they have considered suicide. No matter how they answer, resist the urge to just try and offer an immediate solution or tell them “don’t worry.” Adolescents need to feel that their problems are valid and aren’t something that can just be hand-waved away. It isn’t always easy to resist that urge to try and solve a child’s problem, but it will help build the trust that is vital for young adults.

Mental health professionals need to do their part

In some cases, young people may need more support than a parent can offer, whether that support comes from crisis lines, a therapist, or an inpatient mental health facility. It is crucial for parents to be able to rely on mental health services to give children the proper treatment as the consequences of inadequate care can be deadly.

Sometimes, despite a parent’s best efforts, a child may die by suicide. If the unthinkable should occur while a child is receiving care, an experienced attorney is necessary to ensure that the mental health services that parents rely on did everything in their power to prevent suicide. A lawyer will hold anyone who is found to be negligent in their duties accountable.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson has the experience and knowledge to investigate the circumstances of suicide and advise families on how to proceed during an extraordinarily difficult time. We serve clients nationwide, so if you have suffered a tragedy and are worried that your child didn’t receive the proper care, contact attorney Skip Simpson today.

Premature hospital discharges contribute to suicide deaths

Premature Discharge in hospitals

Hospitals and other medical facilities have an obligation to ensure that patients are kept safe and given the best possible care. Sometimes patients get discharged too early, putting them in danger of not recovering or getting the full help that they need. This is especially true for patients who are at risk of suicide. Premature discharge often occurs due to financial reasons or uninformed medical staff.

First, it’s critical that competent medical staff conduct the proper screening to identify a suicide risk. This should be done first with screening instruments and follow-up questions by a trained clinician. A family member or significant other needs to be a part of the process. A family session should routinely be recommended. There needs to be sufficient evidence that the patient has improved—really improved. Suicide rates, usually within 7-14 days, are higher than rates of suicides that occur on the inpatient unit. Therefore, careful reassessment of suicide risk factors is mandatory prior to discharge…So what has changed so that the patient is ready for discharge?

If a suicide risk has been established, medical staff has a duty to intervene. The patient may not be ready for discharge. If the patient is safe for discharge Mental health specialists should make a patient’s family members and friends aware of the suicide risk and educate them on the warning signs of suicide and means restriction; a careful means restriction like a DEA agent would do determining where contraband may be hidden.

When should at-risk patients be discharged from the hospital?

The patient, a family member involved in the care, or significant others should receive clear and easy to follow instructions on how to access the treating physician or therapist regarding any concern. Family or significant others and the patient should be given information regarding how to access treating clinicians after office hours and any limitations on their availability. Emergency phone numbers that are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, such as psychiatric emergency services, and crisis lines should also be given. Remember the patient is being discharged into a zone of time when suicide risk is at its highest. Don’t take that time period lightly.

Before discharge, hospital staff should make sure the patient understands why staff speaking with collaterals are important. With the patient’s written permission, the patient’s family members or significant others should be alerted to the patient’s history of suicidal thinking and behaviors. No one should be put in the position of supporting a patient without knowing how critical things have been for the patient. This “heads-up” should also be given to subsequent care providers. Make a serious effort to assure that the clinicians with responsibility for treating the patient following discharge receive a copy of the patient’s discharge summary.

Learn more about your legal options. Talk to attorney Skip Simpson today.

Suicide deaths have gradually increased in the United States each year within the last decade. The problem has grown exponentially worse with the COVID-19 pandemic. Awareness of suicide ideation is critical in hospitals and communities. Medical professionals who fail to act when necessary should be held accountable. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson is committed to helping families get the answers and justice they deserve. We are also committed to taking action against negligent medical facilities and preventing further suicide deaths from occurring.

Dealing with the loss of a loved one from suicide can be a confusing time for anyone. Attorney Skip Simpson understands the challenges facing families. A nationally-recognized expert in inpatient suicide law and other suicide-related legal matters, attorney Simpson has worked with many families nationwide after the death of a loved one by suicide. Attorney Simpson can explain the legal options available to your family. Demand legal action today. Contact our law firm and schedule an appointment with an experienced and compassionate attorney.

The 8 most common myths about suicide debunked

Texas suicide lawyer

Suicide is an issue that isn’t discussed nearly as much as it should be in our culture. Myths often prevail over the facts, further leaving countless individuals at risk. The lack of understanding of suicide and the social stigma surrounding it acts as a barrier to progress. For this reason, there are far too many people who don’t get the help and support that they need. Addressing the myths surrounding suicide and presenting the facts is a good start to breaking down these barriers. Below, we discuss and debunk the eight most common myths about suicide.

Myth 1. Only people with mental health conditions are at risk of suicide.

False. We must acknowledge that there are people who suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia who don’t have thoughts of suicide. Moreover, there are people who have thoughts of suicide after experiencing major life crises. These may include people who have lost loved ones, experienced abuse and trauma, lost their homes and jobs, have experienced serious criminal or legal matters, or are suffering from a debilitating or terminal illness.

Myth 2. Asking a depressed person if they’re considering suicide is risky.

False. Not to ask about suicide is risky. If you know someone who seems to be suffering from depression, high anxiety, or has experienced a  perceived major life crisis, it’s wise to discuss the subject of suicide with them. “Have you been thinking about suicide?”

Many people are afraid to talk about suicide because of the stigma surrounding it. By talking about the subject, you can help reduce the stigma and encourage someone who is at risk to open up about it. As a result, they may rethink their options and get the help that they need.

Myth 3. Suicidal individuals will always remain suicidal.

False. Suicide ideation is short term in a lot of people, especially for those who don’t suffer from a mental health condition but have experienced a significant crisis. Even those who suffer from reoccurring suicidal thoughts can recover with the right intervention and treatment. Many people who are suffering see suicide as a way to escape painful circumstances and emotions. Once they recover from these symptoms, they often recover from suicidal thoughts.

Myth 4. Suicide always comes without warning.

Mostly false. There have been many cases when someone has taken their own life and the people closest to them didn’t see it coming. When death by suicide occurs without warning, it’s usually because the person’s friends, family and colleagues didn’t recognize the signs, nor were they ever educated to do so. For the trained, it is rare for a suicide to come “out of the blue.”

Myth 5. Suicide is an act of selfishness.

False. An attempted suicide is caused by mental health conditions and/or circumstances beyond the control of the individual to handle alone.  They need help and hope from everyone including professionals. The best way to help is to listen, be nice, and refer the person to a professional health counselor.

Myth 6. Those who talk about suicide will never actually do it.

False. If someone is talking about suicide, then they are most likely thinking about it. That’s why you should always take any talk of suicide or death seriously, even if it seemingly comes across as a joke.

Myth 7. There is something psychologically wrong with people who die by suicide.

False. The assumption that there is something psychologically wrong with people who are at risk of suicide is what feeds the stigma. This is the reason why many individuals who are suffering never talk to anyone or seek help. We should never alienate someone who suffers from a mental illness or painful circumstance.

Myth 8. People who are suicidal will never seek help.

False. Studies have found that many people who have died by suicide tried to get help within six months before their death. When help is sought it is the aim of health care to make sure the help is competent help.

Contact a Texas suicide lawyer if you lost a loved one to suicide

If you lost a loved one due to suicide, it’s important that you speak to an experienced and compassionate attorney who will demand justice for you and your family. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson will not only help you pursue a claim, but we’ll also support you every step of the way. Our attorneys will also fight to hold negligent healthcare providers accountable and help prevent another tragedy from occurring.

Our law firm would be glad to sit down with you and go over your legal options. Contact us online or call us to find out how we can help you. Our legal consultations are free and confidential.

Hair loss drug can increase the risk of suicide, study finds

Texas suicide lawyer

Propecia (also known as finasteride) is a drug that is used to treat male pattern hair loss, particularly on the vertex and anterior areas of the mid-scalp. It’s also used to treat symptoms of benign prostatic hyperplasia. According to RxList, it belongs to a class of drugs known as 5-Alpha-Reductase Inhibitors.

Some of the side effects listed by RxList include breast lumps, pain, tenderness and discharge. It also lists sexual complications as common side effects. The site counterintuitively mentions the risk of depression, but researchers in a recent study have dug deeper into the psychological side effects linked to Propecia.

The link between Propecia and suicide

Researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston examined data from VigiBase (The World Health Organization’s global Case Safety Report database) pertaining to drug safety reports from more than 150 countries. They discovered that suicide ideation among men ages 45 and younger who used Propecia increased significantly since 2012. Approximately 356 reports of suicidality and nearly 3,000 reports of psychological side effects were reported. The same side effects were not reported among older Propecia users who were prescribed the drug to treat prostate issues. The study was published in The Journal of the American Medical Association on November 11, 2020.

Dr. Quoc-Dien Trinh is a senior researcher from the division of urologic surgery at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. According to Trinh, there is currently no clear explanation as to why researchers are seeing an increase in suicide ideation among young male Propecia users. Researchers speculate that the link between the drug and suicide risks may be due to:

  • Biological factors that increase the risk of mental health issues and suicide when coupled with Propecia.
  • Media attention and heightened awareness of the drug’s psychological effects that have led to a rise in reports of adverse events.

Researchers find more potential links

Dr. Michael Irwig from the division of endocrinology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston links the psychological effects of Propecia in young men to sexual side effects. The reason for this may be a loss in sexual function in younger men, which can result in complications with dating and relationships.

“Sexual dysfunction in younger men can result in depression and, in a subset of these men, suicidal ideation,” said Irwig.

Abdulmaged Traish is a professor emeritus of urology at Boston University School of Medicine. He believes that Propecia adversely affects the central nervous system in young men, which leads to depression and the risk of suicide. Traish argues that since hair loss is a non-life-threatening condition, taking Propecia “comes with a high price.” For this reason, patients should be made fully aware of the potential psychological side effects before taking this drug. In addition, Traish believes that a warning should be labeled on the drug by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration highlighting the potential psychological risks. Currently, no such warning label exists on Propecia packages.

“Physicians should have a frank, open discussion with the patient about the potential adverse side effects of the drug,” said Traish. “If the patient still wants to take it, it’s OK, but at least tell him, honestly, this is what we know.”

Why screening is critical

Researchers haven’t yet concluded that there is a direct link between Propecia use in young men and suicide ideation. But studies such as this outline the importance of screening patients for suicide risks in medical facilities before prescribing certain medications. The Law Offices of Skip Simpson have listed dozens of medications that have been linked to suicidal thoughts and behaviors in patients. If a patient exhibits any signs of depression, anxiety, mental or emotional trauma, or suicidal behavior prior to treatment, medical professionals have a duty to act accordingly. If they fail to uphold their duty of care and a patient is harmed as a result, they should be held accountable.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson have seen the devastating consequences of negligence in medical facilities. We have seen patients severely injured after attempting suicide and families mourn the loss of a loved one. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping victims and their families get the answers and justice they deserve. Our experienced and compassionate legal team serves clients all over the United States. There are no upfront costs for our legal consultations or services. We’ll sit down with you, discuss your matter and go over your legal options. Contact us online or call us to find out what we can do for you.

How do I know if I have a solid mental health malpractice case?

Texas suicide lawyer

Mental health can affect anyone, no matter how successful or happy someone may appear on the surface. There is a social stigma surrounding mental health that acts as a barrier to getting help. Nobody chooses to suffer from depression, PTSD, anxiety, or other forms of mental illness, yet some seem to believe it’s a choice to continue to suffer. Far too often, we have heard the phrase “just snap out of it” or “it’s all in your head.”

That type of stigma is toxic enough in our personal lives, but we shouldn’t expect to see it in medical settings. We should be able to trust doctors, therapists and other medical professionals to address the mental health of patients. Sometimes, they do. But too often, they fail to provide a proper standard of care for patients.

What is mental health malpractice?

Mental health malpractice is a legal term for negligent actions or omissions by medical professionals who are entrusted with the care of a mentally ill patient. In particular, mental health professionals have particular standards of care when treating a patient who is at risk of suicide. This standard of care is breached when medical professionals fail to:

  • Properly screen mental health of patients
  • Remove all physical means of suicide for inpatients (sharp objects and other dangerous items)
  • Provide the proper mental health care or referral to a therapist
  • Provide proper follow-up care and contact with at-risk patients

How can malpractice be established?

First, a lawyer needs to review the facts of the case. The lawyer will listen to information and read records to determine if the elements of malpractice are all there: duty, breach of duty, proximate cause and damages.

There must have been a doctor- or therapist-patient relationship for a duty to occur. Frequently, attorney Skip Simpson handles cases where a mental health facility has not protected a patient from an attempted or completed suicide; usually this is a psychiatric hospital but it can also be other types of facilities like rehabilitation facilities.

How can a suicide lawyer help me?

Medical professionals, mental health specialists, and hospitals owe a duty to patients to be competent and professional. They also have a duty to act appropriately when they are aware that a patient may be at risk of suicide. Any negligent actions or failure to act can result in serious injury or the loss of someone’s life.

Attorney Skip Simpson has seen the impact mental health negligence has had on patients and their loved ones. We have witnessed the amount of pain and suffering families go through all because of someone else’s failure to act accordingly. The medical professionals and mental health specialists who we trust to care for the mental health of patients must be held accountable when they fail to uphold their duty of care.

We are committed to helping mental health malpractice victims and their families get the justice they deserve. If you lost a loved one to suicide, we’ll launch a thorough investigation into the facility and professionals responsible for providing optimal treatment. We’ll also fight to help you recover any financial losses relating to your loved one’s death, as well as non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, grief, and loss of enjoyment of life.

Our law firm is located in Texas and we serve clients across the United States. To schedule your free and confidential case evaluation, contact us online and our legal team will get back to you shortly.

Conversations about safe gun storage can help prevent death by suicide

Suicide prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 40,000 people die each year from death by suicide, which is currently ranked the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. About half of those deaths involve firearms.

Researchers at Forefront Suicide Prevention (FSP) at the University of Washington visited 18 gun shows around Washington state in 2019. They found that engaging people at these shows in community-based and empathetic conversations centered around gun safety resulted in more people keeping their firearms locked up. The study was published on October 20, 2020 in the online journal BMJ Injury Prevention.

Awareness proven effective at encouraging safe storage of firearms

Jennifer Stuber is the lead author in the new study, the FSP co-founder, and an associate professor of social work at the University of Washington. According to Stuber, raising awareness about the risk of suicide when firearms are present can lead to behavior changes that can save lives.

“We need to be educating people who own firearms or are considering purchasing them that suicide is a possible risk to take into consideration and to make plans in advance to mitigate these risks. So many people are in crisis today—from youth, to veterans, to our men in economic distress and in relationship turmoil—we are all vulnerable. We need to educate firearms owners, both experienced and new, at the point of purchase and other places we can find them to raise awareness,” said Stuber.

The study was a test of an outreach strategy created by FSP dubbed SAFER (Safer Homes, Suicide Aware program). The purpose of the outreach strategy is to offer the community steps on how to create safer homes. The program originated in 2015 when Stuber made a phone call to the National Rifle Association (NRA) to gain insight on how its leaders viewed suicides linked to firearms. During the conversation, Stuber learned two things:

  1. Some NRA members have lost friends and family to suicide where firearms were used.
  2. The same people who have lost friends and family are unaware of what can be done to prevent suicide.

In the recent study, 1,175 people were given the SAFER intervention that involved a written survey to assess their knowledge of firearms safety and suicide prevention. Four weeks later, FSP emailed a survey to those who received intervention. Out of the 372 participants who completed the survey, roughly 66% of them said that they now keep their firearms secure in their homes. The second survey showed a 15% increase from the 51% of participants who reported keeping their firearms secure during the first survey.

In addition, volunteers in the SAFER program offered locking devices for medications. During the first survey, 15% of participants said that they safely secured their medications. That grew to roughly 22% during the follow-up survey.

What can the rest of the U.S. learn from the SAFER program?

Ali Rowhani-Rahbar is an associate professor of epidemiology and co-director of the Firearm Injury and Policy Research Program at the University of Washington. He credits this study as the first to “assess receptiveness to suicide prevention messages and self-reported change in firearm storage behavior at gun shows.” He also states that other regions of the U.S. could learn from the SAFER outreach program.

“This study is novel not only due to its outreach to participants in gun shows, but also because of its empathetic approach to engage them in conversations about suicide prevention. It can serve as a model for other regions of the country to use similar approaches and broaden the inclusion of individuals who might be at high risk of suicide in their outreach and prevention programs,” said Rowhani-Rahbar.

Stuber raises another important point: suicide prevention awareness applies to everyone. Even people who have never had suicidal thoughts may experience them at some point in their lives. Or, they may have a friend or family member who is at risk. It’s important that awareness is raised among everyone, so people can have a plan to protect themselves and their loved ones. Awareness is also key in medical settings, so medical professionals and mental health specialists know when to act and how to help protect patients who may be at risk.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson fully supports the SAFER program and hopes to see similar programs become adopted nationwide. Our law office is dedicated to helping suicide victims and their families seek justice when failure to screen or act within a medical facility leads to tragedy. If you lost a loved one to suicide, feel free to reach out to our experienced and compassionate legal team for help.

We serve clients all over the U.S. and offer free and confidential case evaluations. Contact us online to find out how we can help.

Attorney Skip Simpson featured on America Out Loud

Attorney Skip Simpson appeared on the America Out Loud Podcast hosted by Dr. Joni E. Johnston, a forensic psychologist and private investigator. On the podcast, attorney Simpson discussed the dangers of  watching patients at risk for suicide only every 15 minutes; instead, he says, they must watch such patients one-to-one or within line of sight. The problem with these facilities is that many of them focus on ways to save money for themselves rather than on the needs of patients who are at risk of suicide.

It’s unfortunate that we can’t always rely on medical professionals who we should be able to trust. Some would rather take a cookie-cutter approach to caring for patients. Patients at risk of suicide are not getting the care that would save their lives. Attorney Simpson discusses ways for clinicians to avoid lawsuits, make loved ones part of the treatment team, and make it more likely that treatment will be successful.

You can listen to the podcast below or by clicking here. If you lost a loved one to suicide, contact our law firm to learn about your legal options.

El Paso suicide survivor raises awareness during Suicide Prevention Month

Texas suicide lawyer

September is Suicide Prevention Month. It’s not only a great time to raise awareness about the prevalence of suicide. It’s also a great time to address the barriers people with mental health issues face when seeking the help they need.

In El Paso, Texas, Emergence Health Network is offering mental health counseling for local individuals who need it, including a local crisis hotline (which is available 24/7).

In addition, local therapists and suicide survivors are raising community awareness on how and where to find lifesaving resources. This is especially important during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has taken a toll on many peoples’ mental well-being.

Suicide survivor shares her story

One survivor, Elizabeth Zarate, recent spoke with KTSM 9 and shared her experience.

“Personally, in my experience, it feels like it consumes you,” Zarate told KTSM. “You’re so overwhelmed, there’s no way out: ‘nobody can help me.’ You don’t want to put that stigma, ‘I don’t want to put my problems on anybody else; it’s easier if I’m not here,’ and that’s not the case.”

Zarate was once afraid to seek help and raise awareness on the seriousness and prevalence of suicide due to stigma that is often attached to mental health. She now works at a local mental health authority and urges others to watch out for early signs that a loved one may be at risk of suicide. This may include sudden behavioral changes or loss of interest in doing certain things.

“Reach out and talk to them and say, ‘Hey I noticed these things, how are you doing?’” said Zarate. “Just listening to them, being there, supporting them, showing them that you care and knowing most definitely where to find your resources. Know where to go for help, because it exists and it works.”

Zarate also encourages those who have lost a loved one to suicide not to blame themselves.

How simply raising awareness can make a significant change

Until we can squash the stigma surrounding mental health and make critical, lifesaving resources widely available to the public, those who are at risk of suicide may continue to go unheard.

More lives can be saved when communities come together to address the issue of suicide and when those who know what the struggle is like continue to offer help to those who need it.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson applauds the courage of Zarate and other individuals who have come forward with their experiences and have dedicated themselves to helping others. While we have a long way to go, community involvement is a critical step in the right direction.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, feel free to reach out to attorney Skip Simpson to learn about the legal options available to you. Our law firm fights to hold negligent parties (particularly medical establishments) accountable for failure to provide proper screening or to act when someone shows the signs he or she is at risk of suicide.

To learn more about how we can help, contact us online and schedule your free and confidential case evaluation.