Suicide Malpractice Attorney Weighs in on Anti-Suicide Efforts in Arkansas, Oklahoma and Kentucky

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Negligence attorney Skip Simpson comments on a news report detailing a $3.6 million suicide prevention grant in Arkansas that also has been awarded to Kentucky and Oklahoma, among other states.

Many myths surround suicide. One of the common ones is that there often is nothing anyone can do to prevent the tragedy. Actually, all suicides can be prevented if the at risk individual is under the care of competent health providers.

National suicide malpractice attorney Skip Simpson of The Law Offices of Skip Simpson said a five-year grant will help the state of Arkansas focus on suicide prevention and may improve the mental health system.

Simpson today commented on the impact of the grant, which was described in Baxter Bulletin, (The state of suicide, Feb. 13, 2015).

The Arkansas Department of Health received notice that it was one of 26 states and tribes to be awarded a Garrett Lee Smith State and Tribal Suicide Prevention Grant. The $3.68 million will be distributed over five years.

The Grant has been awarded to many other agencies, including the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services (in 2014) and the Kentucky Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities (in 2014), according to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center.

“Many myths surround suicide,” Simpson said. “One of the common ones is that there often is nothing anyone can do to prevent the tragedy. Actually, all suicides can be prevented if the at risk individual is under the care of competent health providers. The majority of these deaths are linked to clinical depression or other treatable disorders. People who are suicidal don’t want to die. They want to stop their pain. But our mental health system is broken. Health care professionals severely lack the training necessary to help people at risk of dying by suicide.”

The money from the grant will help provide suicide prevention training and resources in Arkansas, according to The Baxter Bulletin. Specifically, the grant will be used to increase the number of youth-serving prevention organizations, increase clinical service providers and improve follow-up care of suicidal youth. The money also will be used to help increase awareness and use of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the Baxter Bulletin reported.

Simpson cited data from the American Association of Suicidology which found that Arkansas has a higher than average number of suicides. The state ranked No. 14 in 2013, with a reported 516 deaths by suicide that year. According to 2013 data from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, the U.S. has a rate of 12.57 per 100,000; Arkansas is 17.25, the Baxter Bulletin reported.

"Most mental health providers lack the skills to detect, assess and protect their patients who are at risk of dying," Simpson said. "I know these professionals can do a better job protecting their patients, but they lack the proper training; furthermore they don’t know what they don’t know. When a psychiatrist or other medical care provider in Arkansas lacks this critical training, the consequences can be grave. Sometimes a lawsuit is necessary to get answers and ultimately to improve the system. I hope that this grant can bring some positive changes so families and mental health professionals can avoid lawsuits."

According to the American Association of Suicidology, in the United States in 2013, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide, or 112.7 each day. The suicide epidemic averages to 1 person dying every 12.8 minutes.

“My goal is to do my part to improve the current mental health system,” Simpson said. “In some cases, a suicide negligence attorney may need to represent a family in a lawsuit against a health care provider – a psychiatrist, nurse, counselor, social worker, psychologist or some other medical doctor, or a hospital or clinic. While these are difficult cases to prosecute, families who lost loved ones often need to pursue a suicide malpractice lawsuit as a way of holding the responsible individual or business accountable. Families want answers when something goes wrong. In many cases, an explanation or apology would be enough to stop the lawsuit, but the mental health industry has been resistant to taking any responsibility.”

About The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
For over 30 years, Skip Simpson has been practicing law, focusing on psychiatric and psychological malpractice, suicide lawsuits, as well as personal injury civil, commercial and criminal litigation. Nationally recognized for his expertise in suicide law, he is considered a pioneer in the field of suicide litigation and has represented families who have lost loved ones to suicide around the country.

Family members whose loved one died by suicide and want to know more about their legal rights should seek the help of an experienced suicide attorney by calling (214) 618-8222 or completing the online contact form.

The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
2591 Dallas Parkway #300
Frisco, TX 75034
(214) 618-8222
http://www.skipsimpson.com

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