Today’s post comes from guest author Leila A. Early from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina. Suicide is a very complicated topic. And Ms. Early wrote a piece that should provoke passion, thought, discussion and action. In Nebraska, mental health issues that arise out of workers’ compensation injuries are covered through the workers’ compensation process. But other states’ laws vary, so be sure to speak with an attorney about your specific situation.
In 2012, suicides in the U.S. military were at a record high of 349, which was higher than the 295 American combat deaths in Afghanistan in 2012. This number is up from 301 in 2011. The Pentagon has had a difficult time dealing with this epidemic, which likely stems from military personnel being in combat for more than a decade in Afghanistan and Iraq, complicated by anxiety over being forced out of the military due to a “shrinking force.”
In 2011, 65% of soldiers who attempted suicide had a history of behavioral problems; however, only 45% of those who actually killed themselves had such a history. If there are signs that these service members were asking for help, they were not getting the help that they needed.
What’s interesting is that the U.S. military keeps statistics on suicides, and when the numbers go up to alarming rates the hope is that something will be done to investigate. For years, workers’ compensation lawyers have heard about suicides from employees who did not get proper medical care, who could not handle the abuse that sometimes happens within the system, and who could no longer stand the pain of permanent injuries, disability and resulting depression. But where are the statistics on these deaths? The insurance industry either has this information or it could get it. As a matter of public policy, should they be required to report it?
Today’s post comes from guest author Leonard Jernigan from The Jernigan Law Firm in North Carolina. Dealing with chronic illness or work injuries around the holidays can be very challenging and overwhelming. Unfortunately, sometimes people think that their best choice is suicide. This important blog post assists readers with recognizing the signs and directing folks who are struggling towards getting professional help. Because in this time of year where people are supposed to care for each other, sometimes it’s also important to listen and take care of each other.
Several years ago I had declined to represent an injured truck driver until his wife called me and said she found a suicide note and asked me to reconsider. I did and was able to help him. I believe there is a connection between suicide and workers’ compensation. Clearly the pain of an injury, coupled with the stress of not being able to return to work can cause tremendous psychological strain.
Below are some signs that you or somebody you know may be at risk. This list of warning signals comes from the website of the American Psychological Association. If you see any of these signs, seek help from a doctor or therapist, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Continue reading →