2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.
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Friday, December 6 • 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Gone Too Fast: Lethal Means Reduction and Suicide Prevention among People with Disabilities

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Research indicates that people with disabilities may be at a higher risk for suicide, however, the suicide rate among people with disabilities is not known. While a lack of true numbers for suicide deaths among people with disabilities presents a challenge, more important is the need to overcome the negative expectation for people with disabilities. When non-disabled persons construe a person's disability to be an overwhelming hardship, it prevents consideration and examination of any other suicide risk factors and thus to even consider evidence-based best practices for suicide prevention. (Weiss, 2015). Suicide prevention for people with disabilities has not been fully explored. Many suicides happen impulsively, yet most persons who engage in suicidal behavior are ambivalent about wanting to die at the time of the act (World Health Organization, 2014). High comorbidity exists between impulsivity and the presence of certain disabilities such as intellectual disabilities, Attention Deficit Disorder, and emotional and behavior disorders (Moeller et al, 2001). Easy access to a means of suicide such as firearms, prescription drugs, pesticides, toxic chemicals, and jumping opportunities is a major risk factor because it allows individuals to act on their impulse. Lethal means reduction (restricting access to the means of suicide) is a key component of suicide prevention efforts because it provides an opportunity for impulsive individuals to reflect on what they are about to do, and for the crisis to pass (Sale, et al, 2017, World Health Organization, 2014). Research supports the effectiveness of lethal means reduction in suicide prevention (World Health Organization, 2014), however, studies show many professionals lack awareness of lethal means access as a risk factor, do not regularly talk about lethal means reductions in general or access to lethal means in the home in particular when dealing with a person at risk of suicide (Sale, et al, 2017). The purpose of the session is to provide information on lethal means reduction as a suicide preventative factor for individuals with disabilities. Presenters will provide an overview of the lethal means reduction theory, outline ways to reduce access to lethal means for individuals at risk of suicide, and apply the theory and process to individuals with disabilities.

avatar for Anne Papalia

Anne Papalia

Shippensburg University
avatar for Jean Papalia

Jean Papalia

QPR Suicide Prevention, Safe Communities Madison-Dane County
I am a retired police officer with a passion for taking on the tragedy of suicide. Please talk to me about the role we all have in solving suicide--stigma, lethal means, gatekeeper training--is there more we can do?

Friday December 6, 2019 5:15pm - 6:30pm
Akimel Ballroom 3

Attendees (5)