When I interviewed for my job at the work placement team (yay for new job) I really did NOT think I had done well. I knew I had gotten some of the questions bang on, some of them half on, and only completely made up one answer (oh how I wished I'd actually done some research). There was one question though, a very serious questions that I grinned and started laughing at...I thought it was definitely worth sharing, although I do realize that it is kind of morbid, and it shows me just how calloused my job has made me.
So, the interviewer asked me to desribe a time when I'd intervened with someone who was suicidal. Now, she wanted a professional answer of course, so I could use anything to do with my sister and her multiple issues (which reminds me of another post I want to make) but in my head I was thinking that I've dealt with enough suicidal people to think of something! And that's when I started laughing, see this is what came to mind.
A while back, I wrote about a man who tried to strangle himself in the drunk tank. In this case, he was extremely drunk and high on an unknown substance(s). Talking, as it often does in cases of intoxication, did me no good and right infront of me he took he shirt, wrapped it around his neck and began to pull tighter, and tighter and tighter. I ran for a coworker and by the time we got back he was unconcious. We opened the door and untied the knot. When he realized he wasn't dead, he went nuts and it took six police officers to carry him out and take him to the hospital to get checked.
But that's just one story, if it was just that, maybe I wouldn't have laughed. When the police who apprehended him came back the officer looked at me and said "weren't you here last week when we took someone out who tried to kill themselves" and I had to ask "which one/which time". Because it happens SO often. I mean, people are really creative. I've dealt with more then one hanging, more the one strangulation, attempted wrist/throat slashing, and of course, the good old bang head into wall until you pass out. One of those ones fought the cops for a good long time begging them to just let him kill himself. This was all I could think about. All the lives I've potential saved with "suicide intervention", and I laughed, because I knew this was not at all what they were asking for, but it was all I could think of.
Finally, I smiled, and said something like "I spend a lot of time with intoxicated people and their situations can be kind of exreme, let me tell you about a time I dealt with someone sober..." I based my answer on a client experience, but in truth, I just walked through the steps of a suicide intervention and ended with a likely outcome. One of the reason I want this job, is so that I can have those experiences. Right now, if someone's suicidal, once their sober, we pawn them off on the crisis team, we don't have the time to deal with them, I'm too busy watching out for the one in the cell beside them ripping his mat into ropes or watchign 71 other people in the shelter making sure they don't kill each other after a percieved sock theft.
Suicide is not a laughing matter... just one of the reasons I got a new job.