Suicide | St. Louis Public Radio

Suicide

Susannah Lohr | St. Louis Public Radio

Missouri’s suicide rate ranks 13th in the nation.

In 2016, there were roughly 10 suicides per 100,000 residents, and more than half were gun-related. Yet despite the statistics, only about half of emergency-room doctors in the U.S. ask patients at risk of suicide if they have access to guns at home.

A new Washington University program aims to tackle this issue directly by working with patients at risk of suicide before they’re discharged from the hospital. The Counseling on Access to Lethal Means (C.A.L.M.) program helps patients temporarily store dangerous items they may have at home, including guns and prescription medication.

 


Matt Palozola greets friends at a fundraiser for the Zola Initiative, a nonprofit he started in honor of his brother. Dec. 15, 2017
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When Tom Palozola arrived at Webster University after serving in the U.S. Marine Corps, he struggled to fit in with his younger classmates. But he found solace in in the Student Veterans Organization.

As its president, Palozola worked tirelessly to acquire a grant to open a campus veterans center. He envisioned it as a refuge for veterans who also felt like campus outsiders.  

Palozola had suffered a traumatic brain injury when a roadside bomb exploded in Afghanistan. He struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and died by suicide last May.

Kevin Dietl, left, poses with his mother in a family photograph.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Legislators are making another attempt to prevent suicide among students in Missouri colleges and medical schools.

State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis, pre-filed Senate Bill 52, which would require colleges and universities to develop suicide prevention policies. It also would create a statewide research committee to prevent depression among medical students, and forbid medical schools from preventing student-led efforts to study mental health issues among their peers.

“It’s really not a controversial bill. It’s an awareness bill,” said Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis. “We have to begin to look at what’s happening on those college campuses, and try to have preventative measures in place before they get to that point of no return.”

Kevin Dietl, left, poses with his mother in a family photograph.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

John Dietl knew that his son, Kevin, was experiencing depression. He pleaded with him to get help.

"He did. But he said under one condition; we’ve got to pay cash, and 'I’ve got to go out of town,'" Dietl recalled recently, as he sat at his kitchen table with his wife in Chesterfield. "[He said] 'I can’t let anybody know I’m struggling with this, because it’ll be detrimental to my career.''"

Kevin Dietl, a bright medical student with brown eyes and a passion for water sports, took his life last year, just weeks before he would have graduated from A.T. Still University’s College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville. He was 26.

During a training for new volunteers, Provident clinician Adrianne Martin (standing) leads an exercise in active listening.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

A St. Louis-based crisis hotline is preparing to receive nearly twice as many calls as usual after being selected to serve as a backup center for the national network.

 

In October, Provident will be one of 10 call centers around the country taking calls from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline when local crisis lines are overwhelmed. They’re expecting 150 to 200 calls a day from all over the country.

Mary Delach Leonard | St. Louis Public Radio

Several Vietnam veterans told an Illinois task force on Monday that the Veterans Administration should be doing a better job of treating depression and post-traumatic stress.

The Illinois Task Force on Veterans’ Suicides is holding hearings throughout the state to investigate ways to prevent suicide among Illinois veterans. Nationally, 22 veterans kill themselves every day.

In 17 days, Mark and Eric Norwine walked 200 miles across Missouri. They hope that the documentary about that trek will help change how people talk about mental health.

Mental health care on campus: Need up, services down

Feb 5, 2012

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 5, 2012 - More college students are arriving on campus reporting serious mental health problems and more students are threatening suicide than in the past. But some college counseling services, such as those at Southern Illinois University  Carbondale, are so understaffed that many students have to wait weeks before getting help.

Springfield mayor Davlin's death ruled suicide

Jan 20, 2011

Springfield Mayor Timothy Davlin's death has been ruled a suicide.

A Sangamon County inquest Thursday determined the 53-year-old Democrat died of a close-contact bullet wound to the heart in a vehicle parked at his home Dec. 14.

Investigators say they found no note from Davlin. They say there were no signs of foul play and no drugs or alcohol in his body.

Davlin apparently called 911 from a cordless landline phone in his car but hung up.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: September 12, 2008 - Suicide rates among 10- to 19-year-olds are on the rise in the United States, according to research published in the Sept. 3 Journal of the American Medical Association. While the overall numbers declined from 1996 to 2002, an increase of 18 percent was seen from 2003 to 2004. Suicide trends continued to be higher in 2005, although the numbers fell by 5.3 percent between 2004 and 2005. An excess of 326 and 292 deaths were seen in 2004 and 2005, respectively, relative to what was expected based on the trend predictions, the report indicated.