Suicide Prevention Clothing, U.S. Patent 8,375,466
|Written by Adrienne Kendrick
Posted: March 9, 2013 @ 8:00 am
Did you know that there is clothing available to assist jails, mental hospitals and others with the prevention of suicide? Special protective wear has been issued to inmates and patients with suicidal tendencies for years. As a matter of fact, you can go online and see a variety of items that are available for facilities that might need them — much of which is made out of a very uncomfortable, yet strong nylon shell that is held together with nylon thread. However, that type of material can be quite rough on the skin and quite irritating to the wearer in the long run.
For example, isolation/safety smocks are often used in prisons and/or mental health settings, and these smocks (which are sleeveless and one piece) are typically made from a tear-resistant nylon or polyester so that it can’t be used to make a noose. The material chosen for the smocks is generally selected because of its strength and durability — not for its comfort, and when these items are worn over an extended period of time, the discomfort to the wearer can be such that it causes the already fragile-minded individual a great deal of irritation and aggravation, further compromising that person’s mental stability.
So what can be done to make anti-suicide clothing more comfortable for wearers, yet remain just as effective in preventing suicides? Inventors Robert Schilling and Ayla Tasezen, the inventors listed on U.S. Patent No. 8,375,466, believe that they have come up with the perfect solution.
The inventors have come up with several possible versions of a more comfortable, yet durable article of clothing that can be worn by medical patients and inmates who are in danger of committing suicide or injuring themselves. One version would be made up of a very strong fabric that consists of a tear-proof outer layer made of either a natural or synthetic material, and an inner layer of a softer synthetic or natural material. In between the two layers would be yet another piece of material that would offer warmth to the individual (as well as add more bulk to the fabric, thus keeping it from being able to be torn or ripped for use as a rope).
Another incarnation of the piece of clothing would be in the form of a smock that would give the wearer a level of comfort and warmth, all while being strong and durable for those with suicidal ideations. This particular item would have at least one sleeve; however, that sleeve would be detachable and would break-away from the torso section of the garment if the wearer pulls on it. While it would seem that having a sleeve or sleeves wouldn’t be a good idea, the inventors note that the smock with break-away sleeves would prevent the wearer from attempting to push his or her head into one of the sleeve sections in an effort to suffocate him or herself.
An additional version of the invention would be made from a material that has a small amount of “tensile strength,” thus making it nearly impossible for the wearer to be able to injure or kill himself using that clothing. What is tensile strength? It is generally the measurement of the ability of a material to withstand a pulling force. More specifically, the inventors intend to use a material that has “less than a few ounces of tensile strength,” which should prove to be quite effective in preventing suicide or injury when worn.
Schilling and Tasezen have also come up with a version that would be more of an undergarment to be worn by suicidal individuals. It would be made up of at least one layer of cellulose or synthetic material that would have elasticized openings for the legs and waist and would be disposable. An alternative version of the undergarment would be made of the same material mentioned above, except this time, it would be rectangular in shape and have no openings. Instead, the undergarment would simply be folded around the wearer’s body and held together via the use of several fasteners.
In yet another version of the invention, the article of clothing would consist of an outer, middle, and inner layer, and all three layers would be held together by nylon thread. This version would make the outer layer an exceptionally strong piece of polyester that would be stronger than 300 denier and tear resistant, again making it virtually impossible for the wearer to be able to tear it into strips so that it can be made into a noose for committing suicide. The inner layer would be made from “a cotton material of more than 7.2 ounces and the middle layer would be a polyester fiberfill greater than 2 ounces.”
Additional variations of the article of suicide clothing would include a number of openings and consist of a non-woven type of material, elasticized thread attached to each opening, and nylon thread to stitch the non-woven material together to form a shape. The inventors admit that the non-woven material is weak and can be easily torn into strips; however, it will ultimately prevent the wearer from being able to use the material as a rope and commit suicide because of its lack of strength. In the alternative, the non-woven material would be of a cellulose material, still with nylon threading used to hold it together, and this time, there would be several removable attachment pieces at opposing ends of the garment.
Schilling and Tasezen believe that their suicide clothing options will keep an individual warm, as well as provide him or her with a level of self-respect by being covered up by a fair amount of comfortable clothing — all while being indestructible and therefore assisting in the prevention of possible suicides and injury. For more information about this invention, and to see drawings of the various versions, click here.
About the Author
Adrienne Kendrick holds a BA in English from the University of Maryland, as well as a JD from John Marshall Law School. She also completed the MBA program (with an emphasis in Project Management) at Keller Graduate School of Management. Ms. Kendrick has been a professional legal writer and editor for almost 15 years, and she not only enjoys writing about topics related to intellectual property, but she also has an interest in the areas of Immigration law, Employment law, and Criminal law.