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Family Guidance Blog

What Can You do if Someone You Love is Contemplating Suicide?

Suicide Prevention Requires Intervention

suicideLast month suicide prevention was brought to the attention of our nation during National Suicide Prevention Month. It was 30 days dedicated to informing the public about the signs, dangers and help for those who contemplate suicide. This is a major issue in our world and in our nation. Over 2,000 individuals around the world end their own lives every day. Here at home, 22 military veterans commit suicide each day. It is our number three cause of death overall and the number one cause of death for those ages 15-24. Suicide claims the lives of young, old, black, white, rich or poor. It’s a concern which affects us all.

Hopelessness is at the root of suicide. When a person feels there will be no end to their current pain and no way out of their present situation, they feel trapped and without options. Thus, when a person mentions suicide, it’s not an empty threat. They are letting you know that they feel they have no real choices. But those feelings are false, because 80-90 percent of people with chronic depression respond well to treatment. Don’t brush off a person’s offhand reference to suicide. Make sure they get help. Suicide is preventable, but someone must intervene.

At the Family Guidance Center we offer a 24/hour suicide hotline (1-888-279-8188). We also offer treatment. A quarter of a million people per year survive attempted suicide. Prevention is even more successful. But it takes you being willing to get involved. Even if a person doesn’t mention suicide outright, ask them if they have been contemplating it. Then, make a call or bring them by. We have mental health professionals that are available to talk to them at all times.

Suicide: Who’s at Risk?

The Numbers and Warning Signs for Suicide in the United States

Suicide 2Suicide is a serious problem all around the globe. There are 800,000 suicides worldwide every year (World Health Organization). Worldwide it is the number two cause of death among 15-29 year olds. But what about right here in the United States? What do the numbers show us and who is most at risk?

The Numbers Here at Home

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), suicide is the number three cause of death for U.S. adolescents and the number 10 cause of death for U.S. adults. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publishes figures which give even greater insight into this problem. According to 2013 numbers published by the CDC, there were 41,149 deaths by suicide that year. 2013 is the most recent year for which these numbers are currently available. The CDC also breaks risk down according to age, sex and ethnicity.

By Age

The largest percentage (19.1 percent) of suicides occurred in the 45-64 year age group. Not far behind were the elderly. An alarming 18.6 percent of those over age 85 took their own lives in 2013. Over 10 percent (10.9 to be exact) were in the 15-24 age range.

By Sex and Ethnicity

In this country, men are four times more likely to take their own life than are women. White males accounted for a staggering 70 percent of all suicides in 2013. While suicide is a serious concern for all ages, races and genders, white men seem particularly at risk.

Warning Flags

It is important to know the warning signs that can alert you to the risk of suicide in someone near you: talk about suicide, aggressiveness, increased substance use, self-isolation, recklessness, and severe mood swings (when their mood suddenly calms it can be a sign of imminent danger).

Should you be concerned about the risk of suicide in someone you love or feel that you may be at risk yourself – reach out and ask for help. You can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-TALK (8255) any time day or night. You can also ask to talk with someone here at Family Guidance Center. If you sense danger, don’t hesitate to get help.

Knowing the Signs of Teen Depression Can Help Prevent Suicide

What Can be Done to Reduce Teen Suicide?

suicideIn May, many families heard high school and college graduation speeches which encouraged young people to capitalize on their strengths in order to make the most of their lives. Sadly, many young people sitting in the audience were having a hard time envisioning a happy future as they were overcome with feelings of depression. At an age when they are brimming with potential, too many young people feel hopeless and empty and suicide continues to be a concern among young adults.

The years of adolescence are full of fear and anxiety. Most young people worry about what to do with their life, how they will fit in, how they will support themselves or a family and whether or not they can make it in this big world. All of that self-doubting can be compounded by stresses in the family. When there is divorce, unemployment or a major relocation, the sense of instability and being adrift in a great sea can seem overpowering to youth.

When an adolescent feels flooded by problems and cannot find hope that the problems will be resolved, they can easily become depressed. In some cases, this depression can lead to suicide. In fact, many of the symptoms of depression and suicide are the same.
Signs to look for include: neglecting personal appearance or hygiene, drop in school performance, unable to accept praise, rebellion, sleeping too much or too little, or isolation from others. These are not just normal teenager behaviors but signs that someone is sinking and needs a hand of rescue. If the teen verbalizes feelings of worthlessness or makes offhand comments about disappearing or dying, it is important to seek out help from a mental health professional.

Government statistics show that suicide is the number six cause of death for kids ages 5-14 years and the number three cause of death for those ages 15-24 years. If you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms in your teen, contact us at Family Guidance Center. We can help restore hope and hope can save a life.

Suicide Rates Are on the Rise

If you feel like suicide has become more prevalent in recent years, you are not mistaken. As recently as 2012 there were 400,000 deaths fromMental Health 17 suicide. That figure represents more deaths than the number killed in car crashes that year. The number of suicide deaths has risen from 11 in 100,000 in 2005 to 13 in 100,000 in 2012.

Who is at Risk?
The elderly (those over age 75) were once considered the most at-risk category for suicide. Health problems, the loss of loved ones and increasing isolation contributed to depression which is a leading factor in suicide. Today, however, it is men of middle age (45-54) who face the greatest suicide risk. In 2012, 20 out of 100,000 suicides were committed by middle-aged men.

Risky Conditions
Things other than age contribute to suicide risk. A tough economy or dire social condition also affects the suicide rate. Consider that today we experience 13 in 100,000 cases of suicide. During the Great Depression 19 out of 100,000 took their own lives. An uptick in suicide attempts has been seen even during our latest recession.

Gender also plays a role. Women make more attempts at suicide but four times as many men succeed.
What Can You Do?
There is no single answer to the rising problem of suicide, yet you can make a difference in the lives of those you love. Don’t assume that those around you are navigating fine on their own through tough times. Ask questions and then really listen to what they are saying. Don’t hesitate to suggest that they seek out help if they seem to be struggling. Suicide is the ultimate expression of lost hope. Reducing suicide requires restoring hope. That’s what we do at Family Guidance – show the hopeless that hope still exists.

The Truth About Suicide That Gets Lost in the Hype

Anger 2Suicide is an important public health issue. It is something that affects most of us in some way. According to the World Health Organization, 1 million individuals worldwide end their own lives each year. Here in the U.S. suicide is the number two cause of death among young people ages 15-24, claims the lives of 22 military veterans every day and is responsible for more deaths among active duty military service men and women than combat.

Nonetheless, there is a lot of misunderstanding when it comes to this most serious subject. While uninformed bystanders may view threats of suicide as a desperate attempt to gain attention, the reality is that, for most people, suicide is a frightening choice that is only made when they feel they are out of options. People who commit suicide lack hope that things will get better and feel that the pain they are experiencing has become intolerable.

Common Untruths

1. Suicide Happens Only if You Are Mentally Ill
People who attempt suicide are not necessarily mentally ill. Grief, depression and extreme upset can lead a person to act in an extreme way.

2. A Person Determined to End their Life Can’t be Stopped
In fact, most people who contemplate suicide are deeply conflicted about doing so. If the warning signs are seen, suicide intervention can be successful.

3. Talking About Suicide Will Deepen Their Resolve
This is a dangerous misconception since it robs people of the help and intervention which could save them. Talking about suicide and the pain behind it can be helpful. Suicide attempt survivors say it is hugely helpful to have someone ask “what is wrong?” and “how can I help?”

Suicide can be prevented, but it requires intervention. You may need to step in and ask some pretty direct questions. Don’t judge or try to make them feel guilty, but do show genuine concern. Finding a door out of their present pain can make a huge difference. Family Guidance provides counseling for people looking for a reason to hope again and a crisis hotline for more immediate intervention. Lives depend on knowing where to go for help.