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Homicide victimization rates among young adults of the age 18-24 went up to 24.8 homicides per 100,000 in the year 1993. This was the highest homicide victimization rate ever seen in all age groups from the inception of recording of the data in the 1980's. However, this figure declined to 14.2 in the year 2008. In the 21st century, every age group has experienced decreased homicide victimization rates as compared to the 1980's and the 1990's. This decrease shows that there is something that has changed in the systems. Research indicates that better investigation and improvement in technology used in the investigation has contributed to this decrease in homicide victimization rates among all age groups (Zimring, 2006).
The shows the homicide victimization rate by age from the year 1980 to the year 2008. The graph shows clearly the homicide victimization by age from the age of 14 years and below to fifty years and older. From the graph, the homicide victimization rates among people that are 14 years and below has been constant over the years, and it stand at two persons per 100,000.Young adult that from the years 18-24 years experiences the highest homicide victimization rates at 24.8 in the year 1993.
However, their victimization has fluctuated over the years. The victimization rates for the senior citizens that are above 50 years and above has been decreasing constantly from 6.3 persons per 100,000 in the year 1980 to around 3.4 persons per 100,000 in the year 2008. The homicide rates among teens increased from 6 to 12.3 in the year 1995. These years were the most notorious for homicide victimization rates since the recording of the data started in the year 1980. Between the year 1993 and 1996 is where the highest victimization rates were found.
This was a 150% increase in their homicide victimization rates. Their tendency of being victimized for homicide is similar to that of young adults peaking between the year 1994 to the year 1996. The year 1995 and 1996 recorded the highest levels of homicide victimization for the young adults and teenagers. Persons between the age of 35-49 have had a declining rate in terms of their homicide victimization rates, it has been decreasing constantly with several fluctuations in the year 1994 (Lattimore, 1997).
However, it has decreased from 14.3 persons per 100,000 to around 5 per 100,000 in the year 2008. The year 2008 has seen the lowest homicide victimization rates for every group in its past ten years. This is a testimony of something being done right that has been done in the 21st century that has led to lower homicide victimization rates for all age groups.
In the year 2000 to the year 2008, there was a decline (sharp) in the homicide rates especially among the 18-24 age group. This decrease was also felt b the 25-34 age group. Although there have been fluctuations in terms of homicide victimization rates in the 21st century, it can generally be agreed that the homicide victimization rates have decreased with a statistical significance as compared to those of the 1980's and the 1990s (Zimring, 2006).
Some of the fluctuations experienced include that of the 14-17 age group that stood at 5 person per 100,000 in the year 2000 decreased to 4.6 in the year 2003 and returned to 5 person per 100,000 in the year 2008. However, this fluctuations is not pronounced as that of the shift that occurred between the 1990's and the 21st century. For example, for the same age group of 14-17, the data stood at 11.2 per 100,000 in the year 1995, and this decreased sharply to 4.8 in the year 2001. The numbers have remained at 4.8 per 100,000 in the 21st century. This is as compared to an average of 7.9 per 100,000 in the 1990's.
The 1990's experienced an increase in homicide victimization rates as compared to the 1980's and the 1990's. The 1990's showed the highest numbers in terms of homicide victimization rates especially in the year 1992 to the year 1996. This, however was tamed in from the year 1998 headed into the 21st century where the homicide victimization rates decreased substantially. This data shows that indeed in the 21st century the victimization rates have decreased for all ages and there is something right that the law enforcement agencies have been doing right that they were not completely doing in the 1980's and the 1990's.
In conclusion, the data shows that an increase in technology as well as a general increase in the investigate arena by law enforcement agencies has gone a long way in ensuring that homicide victimization rates among all age groups has decreased (Zimring, 2006). There has been a dramatic decrease in the homicide victimization rates from the year 1998, and this further decreased with the turn of the century. The 21st century has been able to deal effectively with homicide and the data supports this argument conclusively.
Lattimore, P. K. (1997). Homicide in 8 u.s. cities: Trends, context, and policy implications. S.l.: Diane Pub Co.
Zimring, F. E. (2006). The Great American Crime Decline. Oxford: Oxford University Press, USA.
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in some countries, with China and India contributing to thirty percent of suicides globally. In the United States, suicide contributes to over thirty five deaths in a year. The number of individuals is alarming showing that more people are resulting to suicide as a way of solving their problems. Suicide is related to a number of risk factors, with mental disorders being at the top of the list. Individuals who experiences stress and stressful situations often seem to result to committing suicide as a means of addressing their pains and sorrows. It is therefore, the high time the public is encouraged to spot any suicidal related activities in their activities or friends and try to help them. It is very sad for a nation to be losing such a high number of citizens annually to suicide.
Suicide refers to the intentional act of an individual trying to take his or her life. If an individual takes away his or her life by accident, then this is not considered as suicide. There are a couple of reasons for individuals committing suicide, and they include biological factors, psychological factors, and socio-cultural factors. Suicide in the US is considered as the tenth leading cause of death, with over 35,000 suicides a year. Life stress and individuals who are divorced or have marital issues tend to have suicidal thoughts. The psychological turmoil that such individuals endure causes them to have such thoughts (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2013, 254). Substance abuse is an example of a socio-cultural factor that may cause an individual to commit suicide (White, 2010, 67). Other socio-cultural factors that may cause a student or teenager to commit suicide include the pressure to get good grades, career choices and social interaction issues. The biological reasons associated with suicide include Individuals who have suicidal thoughts and go ahead to commit suicide often have genetic relations to suicide in their families.
Determining whether a patient is suicidal or not greatly, depends on a close examination of the patient and everything concerning him or her. There are a couple of factors that a psychiatrist can use to determine if an individual is suicidal or has such thoughts. A common thing among individuals who think of committing suicide is that most of them are not ready. The individuals are usually in search of a way of ending their pain and sorrows and at some point suicide seems like the best possible manner. Individuals considering committing suicide seem to have difficulties concentrating their attention on one thing, and view life as meaningless. They frequently dwell on one thought and have trouble taking their concentration from the one thought (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2013, 258). The individuals also have the thought that it is the end for them and the only way to end the suffering is by taking their lives.
Treating a suicidal patient is quite a lengthy process, and one should not expect results immediately. The best approach to treating suicidal patients is to treat the mental conditions, which they are suffering from. Depression is commonly treated through the use of antidepressants while Benzodiazepines is used to treat severe panic and anxiety. For survivors of a suicidal attempt, it would be significant to get the individual’s suicidal note. This is in order to understand the reasons for the individual wanting to commit suicide (Butcher, Mineka & Hooley, 2013, 259). Therefore, from this angle it becomes easier to devise a treatment plan for the individual. The intervention of the crisis that the individual may be experiencing may also work out as a method of treating a suicidal patient.
There is no definite cognitive treatment for individuals who have tried to commit suicide. In such a case, the individuals are exposed to about ten lessons of cognitive therapy that focuses on suicide prevention (Freeman, 2004, 58). In some cases, some individuals may be fixed on the thought of committing suicide as the only means of solving their troubles. It may take time to convince the individuals that they are other methods of solving their issues rather than committing suicide. Providing a solution to the problem that was triggering the individuals to think of committing suicide may also help save the individual. While trying to treat suicidal patients, another problem that arises is that they seem to be repulsive any treatment. In such a case, it may take a lot of intervention and convincing before the individual can agree to treatment.
Butcher, J. N., Mineka, S., & Hooley, J. M. (2013). Abnormal psychology. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Freeman, A. (2004). Clinical applications of cognitive therapy. New York: Springer.
White, T. (2010). Working with Suicidal Individuals: A Guide to Providing Understanding, Assessment and Support. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
The exercise of analyzing policy provides policy analysts with an opportunity to dig deeply into a policy and (a legislation or law) and have a much better understanding of the policy. The purpose of having a deeper understanding of a policy stems from the need to know what it wants to achieve, i.e., it goals, how it is funded, and how it can be improved. Policy analysis develops one’s thinking skills and helps one to be more involved in crafting laws and legislation that, on the whole, improves the community and the country.
Key words: Veteran Suicide
Veteran Suicide – Policy Analysis
The Department of Veteran Affairs (VA) projects that approximately 22 ex-servicemen and women kill themselves every day - an occurrence that prompted VA Undersecretary for Health David Shulkin to announce a ‘call-to-action' to help curb the rising death rates among veterans (Federal Practitioner, 2016). A 2014 report from the DoD indicated that suicide rates among veterans remain high but that the rates are picking up among soldiers in active duty. In recognition of the role servicemen and women play towards keeping the country safe, politics took a backseat when Democrats and Republicans both unanimously voted in favor of the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill which sought to provide hope to veterans with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) by increasing their access to mental health care.
The Bill, named after a young Marine Corps veteran who killed himself in 2011 after months of struggling to cope with post-war difficulties incurred during deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq, seeks to increase access to vital resources that could help veterans to recover from post-war damages. Hunt, for instance, waited for months but still failed to see a psychiatrist. He also waited for extended periods to get an appeal on his disability rating (which came through five weeks after he died). The Bill seeks to utilize independent reviews from the Department of Defense programs and VA to (a) prevent veteran suicide, (b) create peer support and community outreach programs, (c) repay loans for psychiatry students as a way of incentivizing them to work in VA mental health care, and; (d) create a website that provides information on mental health services and also assist VA to team up with non-governmental mental health organizations working on suicide prevention (Kimberley, 2015).
The connection between suicide risk and deployment has been researched and ascertained by numerous scientific reports where prolonged combat exposure is cited as a leading cause of mental illnesses such as PTSD among veterans as well as those still in active duty. According to a recent RAND survey, close to 33% of service members returning from deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan suffered Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), or met the criteria for PTSD or major depression (Fulginiti & Rice, 2011; Bryan & Cukrowicz, 2011). Thus, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill is one of the many measures that have been adopted as part of a policy to reduce the rising cases of veteran suicide in the American society.
A ‘call-to-action’ Summit organized by VA in 2015 identified some challenges that impeded the full implementation of the steps proposed under the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention Bill. The Summit recommended the use of predictive models based on empirical data on drug overdose and suicide attempts to develop prevention strategies but most importantly, stressed on the need to provide more resources to Suicide Prevention Programs to strengthen their initiatives and programs (Wiman, 2009). Lack of resources remains one of the reasons why veteran suicide is high and therefore the prioritizing the provision of these resources and increasing access is the fundamental steps of ensuring that the needs of veterans are addressed promptly and adequately.
But perhaps it is also critical to examine practices that impede perpetuate this phenomenon. The disability rating scheme can lock out deserving recipients if not correctly adjusted and so this possibility informs the idea that at the very least, ex-service members should be liable for disability benefits whether irrespective of their disability rating. Currently, only a 100 percent disability rating makes a veteran eligible for the disability benefits (Cuddigan, 2018). This argument is guided by the notion that mental illnesses are not static and have a tendency to progress over time and therefore, a person diagnosed with a 10% disability rating, for instance, can be diagnosed with a 50% disability rating after a few years especially if they did not receive mental health services after discharge.
"Call to Action" on Veteran Suicide Yields Policy Shifts. Federal Practitioner. 2016 April; 33 (4): e1
Bryan, C.J., & Cukrowicz, K.C. (2011). Associations between types of combat violence and the acquired capability for suicide. Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior, 41(2), 126-136.
Cuddigan, Sean D. How the VA Assigns a Disability Rating for Service-Connected PTSD. Cuddigan Law. 2018. Retrieved August 2, 2018, from ://https://www.cuddiganlaw.com/library/your-ptsd-symptoms-will-determine-yo...
Fulginiti, A., Rice, E. (2011). Together We Stand, Divided We Fall: Connectedness, Suicide, and Social Media in the Military. Los Angeles, CA: USC Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans & Military Families.
Kimberly, L. Obama Signs Suicide Prevention Bill to Aid Veterans. U.S. News. February 12, 2015. Retrieved August 2, 2018, from https://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2015/02/12/obama-signs-veterans-sui...
Wiman, R. (2009). Social Integration: The Role of Social Policy. Global Social Policy, 9 (1), 33-35.
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