By: Dr. Eugenia Agard, Guest Contributor
Did you know that over 44,965 Americans die each year as a result of suicide? Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for 15 to 24 years old and for those 24- 35 years old, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in the United States. Statistically, white middle-aged men have the highest rate of death by suicide. What all this equates to, sadly, is that every 12 minutes someone dies due to suicide, resulting in an alarming 123 deaths per day according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Further, if we specifically look at the rate of suicide for our veterans, it is reported that 22 soldiers die by suicide each day, which means every 65 minutes we lose a member of the United States Armed Forces.
When we look at gender and the risk of suicide, we learn that women have a higher incidence of suicidal ideation and they also attempt suicide at higher rates than men. Women, when attempting to commit suicide, tend to use methods of poisoning (overdosing on pills). Due to this, if discovered early, medical procedures can be effective in aiding in the patient’s recovery.
Unfortunately, this is not the same for men. Men are more likely to die by suicide than women since men use more lethal weapons (firearms) to commit suicide, thus men die by suicide 3.54 more times than woman.
When we look at suicide rates across the world, globally approximately 800,000 dies by suicide, this amounts to a loss of life every 40 seconds. Unfortunately, there are many cases of suicide attempts never reported. For those that do not die by suicide, there were over 575,000 attempts of suicide reported as “self-harm reports” at treating hospitals. As can be seen, suicide does not discriminate and affects
people from all walks of life, age, gender, and backgrounds.
Now that we are more knowledgeable about the devastating statistics of suicide, we must now be informed of the risk factors and symptoms in order to assist a loved one or anyone experiencing suicidal ideation to prevent further loss of precious lives.
It is important to understand that there is a correlation between depression and suicide. Many people suffer from depression... in fact 1 out of 5 people suffer from a mental health condition, but only 40-50 percent of people ever seek support for their symptoms.
This is a dangerous occurrence as depression, left untreated, can lead to high risk for suicidal ideation. Some other identifiable warning signs (list is not conclusive) can occur when a person feels hopeless, feels the pain will never end and or there will never be any relief, the person is sleeping too much or too little, the person demonstrates extreme mood swings, isolates from family and friends, and presents significant changes in behaviors. For some, there is also increased dependence on substance use (alcohol/ drugs).
If you or a loved one is experiencing suicidal thoughts, please do not wish it away or think it is a phase that will pass. Please, seek professional help as there is no weakness or dishonor in asking for help, as it can save a life, even your own. In listening to many people that attempted suicide and survived, we learned that many, with treatment, found hope and were grateful they failed the attempt. When people are depressed or experiencing great challenges in their lives, at times, it seems there is no hope, no end to the pain, but I am writing to let you know, there is another option and things do get better.
Remember, when one is feeling extremely low, it is difficult to see anything positive, the heart feels no hope, but I am writing to let you know that you are so worthy of life and love, and you too can heal. Please, seek help. Right now, you can call 211 to be linked to a Mental Health Provider in your region. You can call the Suicide hotline number listed below and talk to a live person. You can also be seen now as a walk-in to the local behavioral health treatment facilities listed below. If you are at imminent risk, please call 911 now. You are not alone in this world. If you need someone, we are here for you. Let a Licensed Mental Health Provider assist you to heal past the hurt. HUGS Therapy Services is here to embrace you as well, we are only one HUG away.
No matter how dark it seems, please do not give up, healing is transforming, and healing is available to you. Remember, you do matter.
About the Author: Eugenia Agard is a Doctor of Behavioral Health and contributor from HUGS Therapy Services. HUGS Therapy Services (Outpatient Services) HUGSTherapyServices.com