Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. That’s about 123 individuals each day. And for every death there are 25 attempts. The financial cost is a staggering $69 billion annually.1 The cost of life as well as to families, friends, communities and organizations is incalculable.
No one is immune
The statistics are alarming.
- For those between 15-34 years of age, suicide was the second leading cause of death.1
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age (45-64 years of age).1
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.1
Those with depression or mental illness are at highest risk
Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death. Of those, 75 percent are suffering from depression.
Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 to 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.
We can prevent suicide
The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.
We need to talk openly about the fact that people experience suicidal thoughts and have an action plan in mind to help. Do your personal best to become educated and involved. Here is a list of websites for information on suicide awareness and prevention.
The warning signs for suicide
Most times, there are warning signs that someone is considering ending their life. They may have been struggling with depression, talking about just ending it all, saying they are done, not wanting to be involved in activities like they used to be, using drugs and alcohol, talking about feeling trapped, feeling there’s no point in life, or complaining of feeling hopeless. Take these seriously and refer the suffering person for help.
TALK. If a person talks about:
- Being a burden to others
- Feeling trapped
- Experiencing unbearable pain
- Having no reason to live
- Killing themselves
BEHAVIOR. Specific things to look out for include:
- 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
MOOD. People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:
- Loss of interest
What should I do if I am afraid that a person might end their life?
First and foremost: Simply ASK!
Be a good listener, validate how they are feeling, ask about their thoughts, tell them that help is available, and that you’re going to help them get it.
For tips on how to talk to your friend or loved one, read: Preventing Suicide – Why Talking About “It” is Essential.
Call Pine Rest directly at 800.678.5500, take the person to the closest hospital emergency department or call the national suicide prevention number 1-800-273-TALK to speak to a trained professional. They can offer advice and information on what to do.
Help keep the person safe.
Guns are the leading cause of suicide, remove them from access. Also, remove objects that could be used for hanging, and secure all medications including Tylenol (acetaminophen) and ibuprofen. Stay with them until they are evaluated by a mental health worker or can be monitored by other friends or family members.
- Center for Disease Control, 2016