Suicide and Self-inflicted Injuries

19 12 2009

There are a couple of memories that are permanently etched in my mind, and gratefully, most are memories I never want to forget. But unfortunately, some memories still bring sadness and heartache.

I had an extended family member take her own life prematurely, and it has affected my life eternally.

The Mayo Clinic provides guidelines to distinguish who’s at risk for suicide and how to recognize potential warning signs. These guidelines are important to potentially saving a life.

The following video was a Public Service Announcement produced by the Did Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in Culver City CA. It raises awareness on recognizing warning signs of potential suicide victims.


Racial Disparities and Unintentional Injuries

19 12 2009

I am a racial minority–half Hawaiian and half Japanese. Because of my ethnic background, I understand how race can affect one’s life. I am fortunate and blessed to have parents that have worked hard to provide a great life for myself and my family.

My Family

The Prevention Institute featured an article about unintentional injuries. The goal of the Prevention Institute is to have prevention be the center of communities. This focus on prevention is not an easy task.

Minority communities suffer greatly from not only health disparities, but inequalities such as socio-economic status, type of employment, housing and neighborhood conditions, and hazardous exposures. African Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, are the racial groups that suffer a disproportionately high rate of unintentional injuries.

The CDC provides a simple and basic brochure to help communities, especially minority communities,  become more educated about injury prevention. Simple steps such as seeing a health care provider regularly, or eating right and maintaining a healthy body weight, will encourage communities to increase overall quality of life.

Estimating the Costs of Unintentional Injuries

19 12 2009

Through my research of unintentional injuries, I thought about the cost that might be associated with each injury I read about as I continued to find more journals and articles on unintentional injuries. I especially thought about the burden of cost to those injured and their families.

The National Safety Council provides specifics on the estimated costs of unintentional injuries and illustrates, through staggering numbers, the economic burden unintentional injuries cause.

Some of the main costs associated with unintentional injuries are:

  • direct medical care costs
  • rehabilitation
  • lost income because of injuries or disability
  • lost of productivity

In the late 1990’s, unintentional injuries estimated costs reached $224 billion annually. These estimates rose 42% since the 1980’s and continue to grow. It costs far less to prevent injuries than to treat them. Consider the following examples:

  • Every child safety seat saves $85 in direct medical costs and an additional $1,275 in other costs.
  • Every bicycle helmet saves $395 in direct medical costs and other costs.
  • Every smoke detector saves $35 in direct medical costs and an additional $865 in other costs.
  • Every dollar spent on poison control centers saves $6.50 in medical costs.

Emphasis on preventing unintentional injuries is the key to decrease the burden of cost associated with unintentional injuries. For more information on the estimated costs of unintentional injuries, please click here.

Podcasts and Poisioning

18 12 2009

Podcasts are audio or video broadcasts available for downloading from a website to a personal computer or other device. Podcasts are great and easy to understand. The Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention (CDC) has great podcasts available educating the general public on unintentional injury prevention.

The following podcast has Dr. Len Paulozzi, Medical Epidemiologist in CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention, offering some poisoning prevention tips for audiences of all ages. Unintentional poisioning was the #2 cause of death in the age group 15-29 years of age. I fall into this age group and was unaware of this before my research.

    Tips to avoid prescription drugs and medication poisioning

  • Follow directions on the label when you give or take medicines. Read all warning labels. Some medicines cannot be taken safely when you take other medicines or drink alcohol.
  • Turn on a light when you give or take medicines at night so that you know you have the correct amount of the right medicine.
  • Keep medicines in their original bottles or containers.
  • Never share or sell your prescription drugs.
  • Keep opioid pain medications, such as methadone, hydrocodone, and oxycodone, in a safe place that can only be reached by people who take or give them.
  • Monitor the use of medicines prescribed for children and teenagers, such as medicines for attention deficit disorder, or ADD (SAMHSA 2006).
  • For additional tips on how to prevent unintentional poisioning, please click the following link.

    Protecting Children from Unintentional Injuries

    10 12 2009

    My beautiful niece who is 19 months and my handsome nephew who is 3 yrs. old

    My older sister and her husband are great parents. My sister is a great mother and has gone the extra mile to ensure that her children are safe when at home. I included a picture of my niece and nephew because every time I see them, I am reminded how much I love them and how important it is to protect them. Children need protecting because they cannot protect themselves.  

    In accordance to the chart below, even though unintentional injuries can be prevented, the number of children suffering death is too high. Protecting children from unintentional injuries is necessary! 

    When given the right resources and proper education on how to prevent unintentional injuries, proper focus can be put towards making the environment surrounding children safer and can help caregivers become more conscious of potential dangers.  

    Infants who fall into the category of 4 and under, is the group more likely to sustain unintentional injuries that result in death or disability than any other group. This was scary to me because both my niece and nephew fall under this group. The following link under infant, has great information on potential danger areas for all groups listed in the chart below. 


    United States' Injury Death Rates by Type of Injury and Age (1996)

     Safe Kids USA is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, and is a great global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury. More than 450 coalitions in 16 countries made up of health and safety experts, educators, corporations, foundations, governments and volunteers with the focus to educate and protect families.

    Please click on the  link above to become more informed on how to protect children from unintentional injuries. Safe Kids USA also has it’s own Youtube account featuring many quick and informative videos on how to prevent injuries at home, at play, and on the way. They have created the Danger Rangers to help inform children of potential dangers. Below is a PSA in 2006 that I thought was informative and important.


    Is your home safe?

    29 11 2009

    I came across this video and thought it was very easy to understand and informative. Take a look…

    Many Americans do not think about making their homes safer because they are unaware of potential problems that exist within the home. Statistics about home injuries are hard to compile and often incomplete, but a report conducted by The Home Safety Council looked at the prevalence of unintentional injuries in the home as well as what causes them.

    This report found common problems in the home that lead to injuries which included:

    • Inadequate railings and banisters.
    • Unsafe storage of medications and other poisons.
    • Water heaters set at too high a temperature.
    • Firearms improperly stored or locked up.

    After proper action to safe-guard the home, home-safety inspections are suggested to be conducted once a year. Inspections are to  emphasize the importance of safety, rather than convenience.

    I learned a lot from my research of safe-guarding the home. It is really all about prevention and becoming educated about what to do in order to make your home safe.

    Protecting Grandparents

    28 11 2009

    This is my grandma

    My grandmother celebrated her 86th birthday last month. I enjoy talking to her and listening to how her day went. She is very happy and enjoying life, but she suffers from arthritis in her right knee which makes everyday life difficult at times.

    My grandmother dislikes climbing the front porch stairs when coming home from grocery shopping and groans when she has to climb in and out of the shower. She has fallen off her bed twice from misjudging the distance to the floor when getting out of bed, and is scared of anything left on the floor, in fear that she will trip and fall. Examples like these cross the mind of most elderly people each day.

    Preventing injuries among the elderly is very important and necessary steps can be taken to safeguard the  home from potential dangers. The following CBS news clip video explains the importance of protecting grandparents from potential unintentional injuries.

    After watching the video, I came to understand better the feelings that come with getting older. The lady in the video described her feelings when she suffered a fall. She felt frightened, unexpected, and didn’t know that she was about to fall.

    Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. Falls greatly impact older adults and interfere with their quality of life. Those who have suffered from a fall experience a whole range of injuries, from a bruise to a head or hip fracture. 75% of those who experience falls never get back to feeling normal again and suffer from life-long consequences. Falls can also interfere with older adults being able to live independently, but with proper preventative measures implemented especially within the home, falls can be prevented.

    Ideas for prevention:

    • Improve lighting in darkened areas
    • Make sure floors are not slippery, use of throw rugs
    • Raise toilet seat
    • Have handles to grab
    • Night-lights in hallways, bathrooms and near stairs
    • Keep cords and telephone lines neat and organized