Tag Archives: suicide

Saving Lives

The Parking Podcast logoBy Larry J. Cohen, CAPP

In the aftermath of a handful of suicides from one of our organization’s parking garages, we struggled with how to deal with the issue. There was no tactical plan available to implement on this specific topic, so I worked to create a best-practices road map to help prevent suicides from parking garages. That led to articles, an IPMI white paper, and participating in webinars, conference presentations and consulting. Saving Lives is the overall expansion of that work into training staff in the many types of life-threatening scenarios that can be encountered in their daily life, including:

  • Red Cross First Aid and Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR).
  • Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).
  • QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Suicide Prevention.
  • Mental Health First Aid.

It was my pleasure to talk about the Saving Lives initiative in the latest episode of The Parking Podcast. I’d love to hear what you think.

Larry J. Cohen, CAPP, is executive director of the Lancaster, Pa., Parking Authority.

Suicide Prevention

By Jennifer Tougas, PhD, CAPP

In my life, I’ve known people who have successfully fought cancer, and those who have lost that battle.  I’ve known people who have beat alcoholism, and others who have died from it.  I’ve known people who have successfully left emotionally and physically abusive relationships, and others whose spirit died long before they did.  From casual interactions, either with people you meet on the street or people you work side by side with, you may never know the demons they may harbor, feed, or fight.  They are generally not visible to the casual observer.

Until Monday, I never knew a person who took his own life, who lost the battle with his personal demons.  He was a long-term employee, and from my casual interactions with him, I didn’t know his personal struggles.  As we went around the office and told people one on one or in small groups, most people had no idea either.  Those closest to him knew he had troubles and were concerned, but were still shocked.  It was difficult to console those closest to him so it was a difficult day in the office, but more difficult for his family.

Suicide is a difficult topic to talk about.  But it is necessary if we as a society are to remove the stigma associated with fighting personal demons.  The efforts being discussed across the industry to reduce suicide risk are important and must continue.  Here are two national resources that are available to help:

  • National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center: sprc.org/

Jennifer Tougas, PhD, CAPP, is director of parking and transportation services at Western Kentucky University and a member of IPI’s Board of Directors.

Preparing for Crisis: New Publication Provides Resources for Professionals on the Sensitive Issue of Suicide in Parking Facilities

Increased awareness and education may save lives and reduce trauma

(Alexandria, Va., May 18, 2016) – Suicide has surged to the highest levels in nearly 30 years, according to a recent report by the National Center for Health StatisticsWhile only about two percent of the estimated 43,000 suicides each year result from jumping or falling, parking garages are among the places where these suicides occur (in addition to bridges and railways). Within these industries, professionals have grappled with the devastating aftermath for victims’ families as well the often long-term trauma for personnel.

In collaboration with leading suicide experts, the International Parking Institute (IPI), the world’s largest association of the parking industry, has produced Suicide in Parking Facilities: Deterrence, Response, and Recovery, a 12-page publication that offers information, resources, and expert advice.

“This is a difficult topic but one we feel is important to address,” says Shawn Conrad, CAE, chief executive officer of IPI, who noted that more suicides occur at garages serving Veterans Administration (V.A.) and other hospitals that treat psychiatric illnesses, and at universities, where suicide is the second-leading cause of death. Suicides also occur in multi-level municipal parking garages, he says.

A 2016 survey of members of IPI found that a significant number of respondents reported suicides or attempted suicides (38 and 20 percent, respectively) in facilities they managed.

The publication covers a wide range of topics, from installing physical barriers and signage that offers crisis line information to on-the-scene intervention and post-traumatic care for employees and witnesses. It also addresses how to effectively manage media attention that can unintentionally glamorize suicide with tragic consequences.

Suicide in Parking Facilities: Deterrence, Response, and Recovery is available as a free download here. IPI is offering a webinar on the topic in August, as well as onsite preparedness training. Contact Tina Altman at taltman@parking.org  or 571.699.3009 for more information.


Editor note:
Media coverage can inadvertently glamorize death by suicide. Please consider consulting
www.reportingonsuicide.org for guidance in covering this topic.

Media contact:
Helen Sullivan
(703) 606-7622