National Suicide Prevention Week: September 10 - 16, 2017
Suicide. The taking of one’s own life. Only those who been there can truly understand the weight of this word. And those left behind, can only try.
In the U.S., there is an average of 121 suicides per day, 44,194 per year. For every 1 suicide, there are 25 attempts. (2015 statistics)
· Males take their own lives at nearly four times the rate of females and represent 77.9% of all suicides
· Females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts
· Men are more likely to use deadlier methods, such as firearms or suffocation, while women are more likely to attempt suicide by poisoning
· The highest rate of suicide deaths is among adults between 45 and 64 years, while the second highest rate occurs in those 85 years and older
· Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 34
· American Indians and Alaska Natives tend to have the highest rate of suicides, followed by non-Hispanic Whites. African Americans tend to have the lowest suicide rate, while Hispanics tend to have the second lowest rate
There is no single cause of suicide. Risk factors are many, and are as diverse as the people they affect:
· Mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disease, or anxiety disorder
· Substance abuse disorders, such as alcohol or drug abuse
· Serious or chronic health conditions or pain
· Stressful life events, such as a death, divorce, or job loss
· Prolonged stress factors, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems, and unemployment
· Access to lethal means, including firearms and drugs
· Exposure to another person’s suicide, or to graphic or sensationalized accounts of suicide
· A feeling of hopelessness
· Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
· Previous suicide attempts
· Family history of suicide attempts
· History of abuse as a child
There are warning signs that can help you to identify someone who may be suicidal:
If a person talks about:
· Being a burden to others
· Feeling trapped
· Experiencing unbearable pain
· Having no reason to live
· Killing themselves
· Increased use of alcohol or drugs
· Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online for materials or means
· Acting recklessly
· Withdrawing from activities
· Isolating from family and friends
· Sleeping too much or too little
· Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
· Giving away prized possessions
· Loss of interest
7 Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain:
1. Ask: “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” It’s not an easy question but studies show that asking at-risk individuals if they are suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts.
2. Keep them safe: Reducing a suicidal person’s access to highly lethal items or places is an important part of suicide prevention. While this is not always easy, asking if the at-risk person has a plan and removing or disabling the lethal means can make a difference.
3. Be there: Listen carefully and learn what the individual is thinking and feeling. Findings suggest acknowledging and talking about suicide may in fact reduce rather than increase suicidal thoughts.
4. Stay Connected: Staying in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care can make a difference. Studies have shown the number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
5. Social Media: Knowing how to get help for a social media friend can save a life. Contact the social media website directly if you are concerned about a friend’s updates or dial 911 in an emergency.
6. Help them connect with a trusted individual, like a family member, friend, spiritual advisor, or mental health professional.
7. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Should you be feeling like you want to end your life, or are concerned about someone you know who is showing these signs, there is help available. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers. They provide free and confidential emotional support to people who are feeling suicidal or are having emotional distress. This Lifeline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. Know that you’ll first be greeted with a message and placed on hold before being transferred to a trained crisis worker who works at the Lifeline crisis center closest to you.
Their website, https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/, also offers additional information and more specific options:
· Ayuda En Español
· Veterans Crisis Hotline
· Access technology for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (TTY at 1-800-799-4889)
· Disaster Distress Helpline
· Native Americans
· Attempt Survivors
· Loss Survivors
“Talking with someone about your thoughts and feelings can save your life.”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline