Suicide. The taking of one’s own life. Only those who have been there can truly understand the weight of this word. And those left behind, can only try.
CDC Press release June 7, 2018: Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased in all states but Nevada.
· There were 123 suicides per day, on average
· Firearms accounted for 51% of all suicides, followed by suffocation (hanging) and poisoning
· Men died by suicide 3.53x more often than women
· White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides
· Suicide rate was highest among adults 45 to 54 years of age, 2nd highest occurred in adults 85 years or older
· Highest suicide rate was among Whites, followed by American Indians and Alaska natives
There is no single cause of suicide. Risk factors are many:
· Mental health conditions, such as depression, bipolar disease, 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, job loss
· Prolonged stress factors, such as harassment, bullying, relationship problems, 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
Warning signs that can help you to identify someone who may be suicidal:
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: Reduce a suicidal person’s access to lethal items or places. Ask if the at-risk person has a plan. 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: Stay in touch after a crisis or after being discharged from care. The number of suicide deaths goes down when someone follows up with the at-risk person.
5. Social Media: Know how to get help for a social media friend. 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 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