Dr. Karch is Surveillance Team Lead, Etiology and Surveillance Branch, Division of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC, Atlanta, GA. She is the lead science officer for the National Violent Death Reporting System (NVDRS) and is working on projects linking NVDRS data to the Department of Defense Suicide Event Reports, state Adult Protective Services data, and National Center for Child Death Review records. In addition to NVDRS, her primary area of interest is in preventing elder suicide and elder abuse and neglect. Dr. Karch received her Ph.D. in 1994 in Social Science from Texas Woman’s University and has published numerous manuscripts on surveillance and violent death prevention. Prior to coming to CDC, Dr. Karch was a medico-legal death investigator at the state of New Mexico Office of the Medical Investigator.
I wrote my first suicide note when I was 13 years old. I hid it and the many more that followed in my stamp collection, books or other secret hideaways, all places I knew my mom would never look. For the next 15 years, each time I packed up my belongings for another move, I would find another one I had forgotten about. I would read each one with dismay. I learned the hard way that an overdose only resulted in having to drink a thick black charcoal concoction with one ankle strapped to a bed frame to keep me from taking off. Running the car in the garage took far too long and two rounds of Russian roulette proved me to be a very lucky woman.