Menstuff® is actively compiling information on Suicide. If you are crisis, 1st call 911 while you're looking in the front of your local yellow pages for the number of the local suicide prevention hotline. If you can't get through to either of those, click on Emergency Numbers. Also visit www.metanoia.org/suicide which contains conversations and writings for suicidal persons to read, gay youth suicide at www.sws.soton.ac.uk/gay-youth-suicide and youth: suicide at www.virtualcity.com/youthsuicide
International Suicide Prevention Wiki is an open source
worldwide directory of suicide prevention hotlines, online
chat, text-lines, and resources. This resource was created
and is maintained by PostSecret Community volunteers.
Disclaimer - Information is designed for educational purposes only and is not engaged in rendering medical advice or professional services. Any medical decisions should be made in conjunction with your physician. We will not be liable for any complications, injuries or other medical accidents arising from or in connection with, the use of or reliance upon any information on the web.
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The suicide rate for men continues to rise as men get older, and the primary reason men kill themselves is that they are suffering from depression. What's more, we now know that men often show different symptoms for depression than do women. Depressed men are more likely to "act out" their depression through things like irritability, anger, anxiety, and frustration.
Something to think about!
We are strictly a library and resource center. We do not do crisis intervention or counseling. The information that follows is not a substitute for professional counseling. It is strongly recommended that you seek guidance from a professional caregiver. If you are feeling suicidal, please contact your local crisis line or counseling center or click here NOW.
If you are feeling suicidal now, please stop long enough to read this. It will only take about five minutes. I do not want to talk you out of your bad feelings. I am not a therapist or other mental health professional - only someone who knows what it is like to be in pain.
I dont know who you are, or why you are reading this page. I only know that for the moment, youre reading it, and that is good. I can assume that you are here because you are troubled and considering ending your life. If it were possible, I would prefer to be there with you at this moment, to sit with you and talk, face to face and heart to heart. But since that is not possible, we will have to make do with this.
I have known a lot of people who have wanted to kill themselves, including myself, so I have some small idea of what you might be feeling. I know that you might not be up to reading a long book, so I am going to keep this short. While we are together here for the next five minutes, I have five simple, practical things I would like to share with you. I wont argue with you about whether you should kill yourself. But I assume that if you are thinking about it, you feel pretty bad.
Well, youre still reading, and thats very good. Id like to ask you to stay with me for the rest of this page. I hope it means that youre at least a tiny bit unsure, somewhere deep inside, about whether or not you really will end your life. Often people feel that, even in the deepest darkness of despair. Being unsure about dying is okay and normal. The fact that you are still alive at this minute means you are still a little bit unsure. It means that even while you want to die, at the same time some part of you still wants to live. So lets hang on to that, and keep going for a few more minutes.
Start by considering this statement: Suicide is not chosen; it happens when pain exceeds resources for coping with pain.
Thats all its about. You are not a bad person, or crazy, or weak, or flawed, because you feel suicidal. It doesnt even mean that you really want to die - it only means that you have more pain than you can cope with right now. If I start piling weights on your shoulders, you will eventually collapse if I add enough weights... no matter how much you want to remain standing. (Thats why its useless for someone to say to you, cheer up! - of course you would, if you could.)
Dont accept it if someone tells you, thats not enough to be suicidal about. There are many kinds of pain that may lead to suicide. Whether or not the pain is bearable may differ from person to person. What might be bearable to someone else, may not be bearable to you. The point at which the pain becomes unbearable depends on what kinds of coping resources you have. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity to withstand pain.
When pain exceeds pain-coping resources, suicidal feelings are the result. Suicide is neither wrong nor right; it is not a defect of character; it is morally neutral. It is simply an imbalance of pain versus coping resources.
You can survive suicidal feelings if you do either of two things: (1) find a way to reduce your pain, or (2) find a way to increase your coping resources. Both are possible.
Now I want to tell you five things to think about.
1 The first thing you need to hear is that people do get through this -- even people who feel as badly as you are feeling now. Statistically, there is a very good chance that you are going to live. I hope that this information gives you some sense of hope.
2 The next thing I want to suggest to you is to give yourself some distance. Say to yourself, I will wait 24 hours before I do anything. Or a week. Remember that feelings and actions are two different things - just because you feel like killing yourself, doesnt mean that you have to actually do it right this minute. Put some distance between your suicidal feelings and suicidal action. Even if its just 24 hours. You have already done it for 5 minutes, just by reading this page. You can do it for another 5 minutes by continuing to read this page. Keep going, and realize that while you still feel suicidal, you are not, at this moment, acting on it. That is very encouraging to me, and I hope it is to you.
3 The third thing is this: people often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Remember that relief is a feeling. And you have to be alive to feel it. You will not feel the relief you so desperately seek, if you are dead.
4 The fourth thing is this: some people will react badly to your suicidal feelings, either because they are frightened, or angry; they may actually increase your pain instead of helping you, despite their intentions, by saying or doing thoughtless things. You have to understand that their bad reactions are about their fears, not about you.
But there are people out there who can be with you in this horrible time, and will not judge you, or argue with you, or send you to a hospital, or try to talk you out of how badly you feel. They will simply care for you. Find one of them. Now. Use your 24 hours, or your week, and tell someone whats going on with you. It is okay to ask for help. Try The Samaritans by phone or e-mail worldwide, or look in the front of your phone book for a crisis line), call your family doctor or a psychotherapist, carefully choose a friend or a minister or rabbi, someone who is likely to listen. But dont give yourself the additional burden of trying to deal with this alone. Just talking about how you got to where you are, releases an awful lot of the pressure, and it might be just the additional coping resource you need to regain your balance.
5 The last thing I want you to know right now is this: Suicidal feelings are, in and of themselves, traumatic. After they subside, you need to continue caring for yourself. Therapy is a really good idea. So are the various self-help groups available both in your community and on the Internet and various online services.
Well, its been a few minutes and youre still with me. Im really glad.
Since you have made it this far, you deserve a reward. I think you should reward yourself by giving yourself a gift. The gift you will give yourself is a coping resource. Remember, back up near the top of the page, I said that the idea is to make sure you have more coping resources than you have pain. So lets give you another coping resource, or two, or ten...! until they outnumber your sources of pain.
Now, while this page may have given you some small relief, the best coping resource we can give you is another human being to talk with. If you find someone who wants to listen, and tell them how you are feeling and how you got to this point, you will have increased your coping resources by one. Hopefully the first person you choose wont be the last. There are a lot of people out there who really want to hear from you. Its time to start looking around for one of them.
Now: Id like you to call someone.
And while youre at it, you can still stay with me for a bit. Check out these sources of online help.
Additional things to read at this site:
How serious is our condition? ..."he only took 15 pills, he wasnt really serious... if others are making you feel like youre just trying to get attention... read this.
Why is it so hard for us to recover from being suicidal? ...while most suicidal people recover and go on, others struggle with suicidal thoughts and feelings for months or even years. Suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Recovery from grief and loss ...has anyone significant in your life recently died? You would be in good company... many suicidal people have recently suffered a loss.
The stigma of suicide that prevents suicidal people from recovering: we are not only fighting our own pain, but the pain that others inflict on us... and that we ourselves add to. Stigma is a huge complicating factor in suicidal feelings.
Resources about depression ...if you are suicidal, you are most likely experiencing some form of depression. This is good news, because depression can be treated, helping you feel better.
When Someone Feels Suicidal Do you know someone who is suicidal... or would you like to be able to help, if the situation arises? Learn what to do, so that you can make the situation better, not worse.
Men and Suicide
In countries like the USA and the UK there has been a steady increase in the numbers of men who elect to end their own lives prematurely. On average in the USA one person (male and female) takes their own life every 18 minutes. Of those who attempt suicide the completion rate for men is four times higher than for women. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death for all U.S. men according to National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
Young men and older men are particularly vulnerable groups. The suicide rate peaks in men between the ages of 20-24, which if isolated from the general statistics on suicide, places suicide as the 3rd ranking cause of death. Older people suffer from the loss of loved one's and friends and can feel isolated, ignored, valueless, or overly dependent on others. In the USA, the leading method of suicide is by firearms whereas in the UK where guns are illegal, exhaust fumes, hanging and overdoses are most commonly employed.
Why Men Choose Suicide
Not every attempt at suicide results in completion, although unsuccessful first attempts are often followed by successful second attempts. We know that young men report various pressures, that they feel unable to adapt to or cope with
Risk Factors for Suicide
The most common risk factors are:
Age and Suicide
In older men suicide is most strongly associated with depression, physical pain and illness, living alone and feelings of hopelessness and guilt.
Is Suicide Preventable
Not all suicide attempts succeed and many people who set out with the clear intention of ending their own lives find that with good emotional and practical support they are able to adjust their circumstances to live a complete and fruitful life. The warning signs listed above do not inevitably lead to suicide attempts although where suicide is attempted and fails that person is much more likely to try again and be successful. People who feel suicidal often report a certain kind of tunnel vision, of being unable to see the broader picture and thinking only in terms of black and white. In such circumstances that individual may not be motivated to seek out help for themselves and it falls on others to offer support by listening, offering encouragement and sometimes even challenging the preconceptions that people hold about themselves such as their abilities and their worth to society.
Getting Help for those at Suicide Risk
Getting help for people expressing suicidal intent or showing the warning signs is so important. There are a number of avenues open to you to get help they need. Support and reassurance are important. Help is available from a number of different sources; family doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, psychotherapists, voluntary organizations, community mental health center, local hospital or social agency.
In Urgent Situations
Contact your family doctor, or consult a mental health doctor urgently If someone is in what you believe to be in imminent danger call 911, do not leave them alone.
Statistical Sources Include:
We are born with the ability to take our own lives. Each year a million people make that choice. Even in societies where suicide is illegal or taboo, people still kill themselves.
For many people who feel suicidal, there seems to be no other way out. Death describes their world at that moment and the strength of their suicidal feelings should not be underestimated they are real and powerful and immediate. There are no magic cures. But it is also true that: Suicide is often a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
When we are depressed, we tend to see things through the very narrow perspective of the present moment. A week or a month later, things may look completely different.
Most people who once thought about killing themselves are now glad to be alive. They say they didnt want to end their lives they just wanted to stop the pain.
The most important step is to talk to someone. People who feel suicidal should not try to cope alone. They should seek help NOW. Talk to family or friends. Just talking to a family member or a friend or a colleague can bring huge relief.
Talk to a befriender. Some people cannot talk to family or friends. Some find it easier to talk to a stranger. There are befriending centers all over the world, with volunteers who have been trained to listen. If calling is too difficult, the person can send an email.
Talk to a doctor. If someone is going through a longer period of feeling low or suicidal, he or she may be suffering from clinical depression. This is a medical condition caused by a chemical imbalance, and can usually be treated by a doctor through the prescription of drugs and/or a referral to therapy.
However, some people cannot talk to family or friends. Some find it easier to talk to a stranger. There are befriending centers all over the world, with volunteers who have been trained to listen. If calling is too difficult, the person can send an email. They should seek help NOW
Time is an important factor in moving on, but
what happens in that time also matters. When someone is
feeling suicidal, they should talk about their feelings
Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs.
The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal I cant go on, Nothing matters any more or even Im thinking of ending it all. Such remarks should always be taken seriously. Of course, in most cases these situations do not lead to suicide. But, generally, the more signs a person displays, the higher the risk of suicide.
Thoughts and Emotions
If you are worried about someone you know, make sure you
read the following How To Help Someone Else.
If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, our first response is to try to help. We offer advice, share our own experiences, try to find solutions. Wed do better to be quiet and listen. People who feel suicidal dont want answers or solutions. They want a safe place to express their fears and anxieties, to be themselves.
Listening really listening is not easy. We must control the urge to say something to make a comment, add to a story or offer advice. We need to listen not just to the facts that the person is telling us but to the feelings that lie behind them. We need to understand things from their perspective, not ours.
Here are some points to remember if you are helping a person who feels suicidal.
What do people who feel suicidal not want?
So, if you are concerned that someone you know may be thinking of suicide, you can help. Remember, as a helper, do not promise to do anything you do not want to do or that you cannot do.
First of all...
If the person is actively suicidal, get help immediately. Call your local crisis service or the police, or take the person to the emergency room of your local hospital. Do not leave the person alone.
If the person has attempted suicide and needs medical attention, call 9-1-1 or your local emergency services number.
The following are suggestions for helping someone who is suicidal:
Ask the person - "Are you thinking of suicide?" Ask them if they have a plan and if they have the means. Asking someone if they are suicidal will not make them suicidal. Most likely they will be relieved that you have asked. Experts believe that most people are ambivalent about their wish to die.
Listen actively to what the person is saying to you. Remain calm and do not judge what you are being told. Do not advise the person not to feel the way they are.
Reassure the person that there is help for their problems and reassure them that they are not "bad" or "stupid" because they are thinking about suicide.
Help the person break down their problem(s) into more manageable pieces. It is easier to deal with one problem at a time.
Emphasize that there are ways other than suicide to solve problems. Help the person to explore these options, for example, ask them what else they could do to change their situation.
Offer to investigate counselling services.
Do not agree to keep the person's suicidal thoughts or plans a secret. Helping someone who is suicidal can be very stressful. Get help - ask family members and friends for their assistance and to share the responsibility.
Suggest that the person see a doctor for a complete physical. Although there are many things that family and friends can do to help, there may be underlying medical problems that require professional intervention. Your doctor can also refer patients to a psychiatrist, if necessary.
Try to get the person to see a trained counselor. Do not
be surprised if the person refuses to go to a counselor -
but be persistent. There are many types of caregivers for
the suicidal. If the person will not go to a psychologist,
or a psychiatrist, suggest, for example, they talk to a
clergyperson, a guidance counselor or a teacher.
Myth: People who talk about suicide don't kill themselves.
Fact: Eight out of ten suicides have spoken about their intent before killing themselves.
Myth: People who kill themselves really want to die.
Fact: Most people who commit suicide are confused about whether or not they want to live or die. Suicide is often a cry for help that ends in tragedy.
Myth: Once the depression seems to be lifting, would-be suicides are out of danger.
Fact: At such a time, they are most vulnerable to a reversal: something can go wrong to make the person even worse than before. The person's apparent calm may be due to having already decided on suicide.
Myth: When people talk about suicide, you should get their minds off it, and change the subject.
Fact: Take them seriously; listen with care; give
them the chance to express themselves; offer whatever help
Anyone whos ever looked at suicide statistics knows that men are 3-4 times more likely to kill themselves than women are (women, however, attempt suicide more). But what a lot of people dont realize is that men in lower socio-economic groupsespecially men in their 30s, 40s, and 50sare significantly more likely to commit suicide than men in higher income brackets. (A mans socio-economic group can depend on his level of education, income, job, or even where he lives.)
Theres no question that theres a major mental health issue here. Depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness play an important role. But according to a fascinating new study done in England, there are a number of other factors the greatly increase mens vulnerability to suicide.
One of the biggest is the changing definition of what it means to be a man in western society. One of the major building blocks of mens identity as men comes from our employment, with an emphasis on whether or not we can support our families. The current recession has been called the man-cession because the overwhelming percentage of people whove lost a job are men. Over the past few decades, our economy has gradually shifted from one based on production and labor (traditional places where men work) to service (traditionally female). And with millions of manufacturing jobs being sent overseas, blue collar men have been especially hard hit.
Men who arent working (or, in some cases, arent making as much as their wife) can come to see themselves as less-than-masculine. Results include depression, alcohol and drug abuse, an increase in risky behavior, and suicide. And of course other factors contribute to unemployment or underemployment. Lack of education being one. Divorce and relationship breakups being another (men are generally hit harder by breakups than women in part because men rely on their partners for emotional support, while women tend to rely on other women). Again, the result is increased suicide risk.
Clearly, we have to do something to reduce mens suicide risks. One obstacle to doing that has been the fact that our mental health and social services systems are set up largely to care for women. Mens depressive symptomswhich are different from womensare often overlooked. Doctors dont ask men about whether theyve lost their jobs or been through a divorce. And no one asks men whether theyre feeling masculine or not. This has to change.
The report, produced by a British charity called Samaritans, makes some excellent recommendations designed to save the lives of the thousands of men who take their own lives. Here are a few. If youre interested in looking into this more, you can read the full report here: www.samaritans.org/sites/default/files/kcfinder/files/Men%20and%20Suicide%20Research%20Report%20210912.pdf (155 page report)
A common parasite that can lurk in the cat litter box may cause undetected brain changes in women that make them more prone to suicide, according to an international study.
Scientists have long known that pregnant women infected with the toxoplasma gondii parasite -- spread through cat feces, undercooked meat or unwashed vegetables -- could risk still birth or brain damage if transmitted to an unborn infant.
But a new study of more than 45,000 women in Denmark shows changes in their own brains after being infected by the common parasite.
The study, authored by University of Maryland School of Medicine psychiatrist and suicide neuroimmunology expert Dr. Teodor T. Postolache, was published online today in the Archives of General Psychiatry.
The study found that women infected with T. gondii were one and a half times more likely to attempt suicide than those who were not infected. As the level of antibodies in the blood rose, so did the suicide risk. The relative risk was even higher for violent suicide attempts.
"We can't say with certainty that T. gondii caused the women to try to kill themselves, but we did find a predictive association between the infection and suicide attempts later in life that warrants additional studies," said Postolache, who is director of the university's Mood and Anxiety Program and is a senior consultant on suicide prevention.
"There is still a lot we don't know," he told ABCNews.com. "We need a larger cohort and need a better understanding of the vulnerabilities that certain people have to the parasite."
Suicide is a global public health problem. An estimated 10 million attempt suicide and 1 million are successful, according to Postlache's work.
More than 60 million men, women, and children in the United States carry the toxoplasma parasite, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but very few have symptoms.
Toxoplasmosis is considered one of the "neglected parasitic infections," a group of five parasitic diseases that have been targeted by CDC for public health action.
About one-third of the world is exposed to T. gondii, and most never experience symptoms and therefore don't know they have been infected. When humans ingest the parasite, the organism spreads from the intestine to the muscles and the brain.
Previous research on rodents shows that the parasite can reside in multiple brain structures, including the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex, which are responsible for emotional and behavioral regulation.
Rat Study Showed Parasite Changes the Brain
A 2011 study on rats infected by the parasite showed that their fear of cats disappeared. Instead, the parts of their brains associated with sexual arousal were activated. Researchers theorized that the mind-manipulating T. gondii ensures that the parasite will reach and reproduce in the gut of a cat, which it depends upon for its survival.
"The parasite does actually alter the brain of its host," Stanford University study co-author Patrick House told ABCNews.com last year. "The fact that a parasite can get into an organism, target its brain, stay there without killing the host and alter the circuitry of the brain -- we've seen this is insects and fungi, but it's the first time we've seen it in a mammalian host."
It was this and other research that led Postolache to investigate the relationship between the parasite and biological changes in the brain that might lead to suicide. He was also intrigued by studies on allergies and research that showed a connection between toxoplasmosis and schizophrenia.
"I was interested in the neuron aspects of suicide and intrigued by low-grade activation in patients who attempted suicide, as well as victims," he said. "Other studies had looked at the brain and suicide risk and impulsivity. The next question was, what could be the triggers that perpetuate this level of heightened activation in the brain?"
Postolache collaborated with Danish, German and Swedish researchers, using the Danish Cause of Death Register, which logs the causes of all deaths, including suicide. The Danish National Hospital Register was also a source of medical histories on those subjects.
They analyzed data from women who gave birth between 1992 and 1995 and whose babies were screened for T. gondii antibodies. It takes three months for antibodies to develop in babies, so when they were present, it meant their mothers had been infected.
The scientists then cross-checked the death registry to see if these women later killed themselves. They used psychiatric records to rule out women with histories of mental illness.
Postolache said there were limitations to the study and further research is needed, particularly with a larger subject group.
Dr. J. John Mann, a psychiatrist from Columbia University, said Postolache's research mirrors his work in the field of suicidal behavior.
"The relationship of the brain to the immune system is more complex than it may appear," said Mann. "The brain regulates the stress response system, which impacts the immune response."
Scientists already know that steroids like cortisone can affect the immune response. Some antibodies whose goal is to kill off cancer can also affect the brain. Oftentimes the first symptom of pancreatic cancer is depression, he said.
Research also shows that streptococcus bacteria can trigger obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) in some children. Sydenham's chorea, the loss of motor control that can occur after acute rheumatic fever, may also be an immune response affecting the brain, according to Mann.
Maryland researcher Postolache suspects that some individuals have a predisposition to these neurological changes.
He speculates that the parasite may disrupt neurological pathways in those who are vulnerable, so that projections of fear and depression from the amygdala are not tempered or controlled by the "braking" function of the prefrontal cortex.
But, Postolache warns that even if a direct cause were found, no antibiotics for T. gondii yet exist and it could be a decade before effective vaccines or other agents that might stop the neurological damage are developed.
Right now, the most effective weapon against T. gondii is education about handwashing, the proper cooking of food, and not using a knife exposed to raw meat on cooked meat.
He also cautions against trendy food production
techniques that let animals roam free. "The risk of
infection could go up," he said, "and increase the rate of
Youth and elderly suicides are on the increase in the US. And, according to The World Health Organization (WHO) over 786,000 people committed suicide around the world in 1997. This is an effective suicide rate of around 10.7 per 100,000 population per year. To put this statistic in perspective, that is the equivalent of one suicide every forty seconds, somewhere in the world.
Suicide is the ninth leading cause of death in the US with 31,204 deaths recorded in 1995. This approximates to around one death every seventeen minutes. There are more suicides than homicides each year in the US.
From 1952 to 1992, the incidence of suicide among teens and young adults tripled. Today, it is the third leading cause of death for teenagers aged 15-19 (after motor vehicle accidence and unintentional injury). Two-thirds of all suicides under 25 were committed with firearms (accounts for most of the increase in suicides from 1980 to 1992). The second most common method was hanging, third was poisoning. Suicide is increasing, particularly for those under 14 and in those over 65, while not the leading cause of death, the suicide rate is extremely high.
Young men commit suicide successfully at a higher rate
than women in all 30 countries listed below. In the US, the
ratio between men and women was 4.1:1 while in young people
15-24 the average ratio is 5.5:1 and the ratio increases
with age within this group. In white males over 85, the
suicide rate was 73.6/100,000 in 1993. For more
Gay men are six times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts and the numbers increase exponentially during the holidays. This story appears in the Dec/Jan 99 issue of Genre and examines the issues behind why they are taking their own lives, and offers some solutions to the holiday blues. (Also see our own # 7 Happy Holidaze A report from P-FLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) states that in a study of 5,000 gay men and women, 35 percent of gay men and 38 percent of lesbians have considered or attempted suicide. The statistics are even higher among gay teens: The Department of Health study indicates that gay youth are up to six times more likely to attempt suicide than straight teens, and gay teenagers account for up to 30 percent of all teenage suicides in the nation.
"Far more women suffer from depression that men do, so it seems odd that women would commit suicide at only one-fourth the rate of men. The key difference between the two sexes may be that women talk out their problems. George E. Murphy, an emeritus professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, says that women may be protected because they are more likely to consider the consequences of suicide on family members or others. Women also approach personal problems differently than men and more often seek help long before they reach the point of considering suicide. 'As a result, women get better treatment for their depressions,' Murphy says. To reduce the rate of suicide in men, Murphy suggests that physicians should be alert for risk factors in men and refer them into treatment. Writing in the Journal of Comprehensive Psychiatry, he says that identifying men at risk require mental health professionals to recognize that depressed men may understate emotional distress or difficulty with their problems." Black Men, 3/99. Source: HealthScout, www.healthscout.com
It's important for people with suicidal feelings to let themselves be assisted in overcoming deep depression. It's also a good idea to talk about your feelings with friends. No man is an island and there's nothing wrong with leaning on people who love you in times of need.
Prevention Services available locally. Dial 411 for your
city's Suicide Prevention Hotline, or try your local Gay
& Lesbian Center, which offers referrals for
counseling, domestic violence and suicide prevention.
The rate of suicide by gun among black male teen-agers nearly quadrupled between 1979 and 1994 before falling off somewhat in the late 1990s, according to a study.
New York, Mar 15 (Reuters Health) -- Divorced or separated men are more than twice as likely to commit suicide as men who remain married, a US researcher reports. But divorce and separation do not appear to affect suicide risk in women, according to Dr. Augustine J. Kposowa, of the University of California at Riverside. Kposowa examined the link between suicide and marital status using data on nearly 472,000 men and women included in the National Longitudinal Mortality study. Between 1979 and 1989, 545 of these individuals committed suicide.
'Men were nearly 4.8 times as likely to commit suicide as women,' the researcher writes in the March 15th issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Whites were at greater risk of suicide than African Americans, and individuals with household incomes between $5,000 and $9,999 were more likely to commit suicide than others. Suicide rates were also higher in older age groups, especially those aged 65 and older, and in residents of Western states.
In addition, divorce or marital separation more than doubled the risk of suicide in men, whereas in women, marital status was unrelated to suicide. Kposowa suspects that this difference is related to the social networks men and women form outside their marriages, which may be stronger or more meaningful in women than in men. 'Women have better ways of communicating,' Kposowa told Reuters Health in an interview. 'They may have more social support networks, friends and relatives that they talk to, whereas men don't have social support networks.'
Primary care physicians should educate men about the risk
of suicide following a divorce, and encourage them to seek
counseling or group therapy, Kposowa added. Parents can also
play an important role in addressing the divorce-suicide
link in men, he believes. Raising boys to 'be themselves,
talk about their problems' and express their emotions can
help reduce the cultural constraints on men to hold back
their feelings, he suggested.
Note that religious and social strictures against suicide may result in some underreporting in some nations. i.e., China is believed to represent over 46% of the suicides in the world. And, no information is currently available on Denmark and France.
Will Courtenay, Ph.D. in his forthcoming book, Dying to be Men: Psychosocial, Environmental, and Biobehavioral Directions in Promoting the Health of Men and Boys (April, 2011, Routledge) reports the following suicide and death rates (per 100,000 U.S. population) from the National Center for Disease Control, for males and females in various age groups:
The ongoing assessment of health data and health data sources is essential to the development of effective prevention strategies for priority health issues. In Washington, assessment efforts include the analysis of suicide data. In 1995, suicide was the eighth leading cause of death in Washington (1), and most (58%) were firearm related. To determine trends in suicide during 1980-1995, the Injury Prevention Program of the Washington Department of Health (WDOH) analyzed death-certificate data. This report presents the findings of the analysis, which indicate that, while overall suicide rates in Washington remained relatively stable during 1980-1995, suicides became more common among persons aged 15-24 years and greater than or equal to 75 years and less common among persons aged 25-74 years.
Computerized death-certificate data and external cause-of-injury codes (E-codes) were used to identify all suicides (E950-E959) among Washington residents. Population data were derived from the 1980 and 1990 U.S. census and from intercensal and postcensal estimates from the Office of Management of Washington state. Contiguous age categories with similar death rates were grouped, and patterns within age groups were examined.
The average 1-year change in mortality was estimated using negative binomial regression in models that accounted for changes in the age, sex distribution, and size of the population. This regression method is useful for analyzing count data that do not meet the restrictive assumptions of Poisson models (2). Results are expressed as the overall percentage change in mortality from 1980 to 1995. Trends are presented graphically using robust locally weighted regression (3). Because suicide methods might change over time, trends in firearm-related suicides were compared with those in non firearm-related suicides.
During 1980-1995, a total of 10,650 suicides occurred in Washington, representing an overall average rate of 14.2 per 100,000 population. The most common method of suicide was use of firearms (E950.0-E955.4) (56%), followed by poisoning (E950-E954) (23%), suffocation (E953) (13%), and other or unspecified means (8%). Most (78%) suicides occurred among males. Although the overall average rate of suicide in the total population remained relatively constant during the 16-year period, the rate of firearm-related suicide increased 8% (p=0.2), and the rate of suicide by other means decreased 15% (p less than 0.01) (Table 1). Changes in the overall suicide rate varied by age, increasing by 127% for children aged 5-14 years (all except one suicide in this age group during 1980-1995 occurred among children aged 10-14 years); by 16% for persons aged 15-24 years; and by 42% for persons aged greater than or equal to 75 years (Figure 1). For persons aged 25-74 years, the rate declined substantially. The increase for children aged 5-14 years primarily reflected an increase in non firearm-related suicide, the increase for persons aged 15-24 years and greater than or equal to 75 years reflected an increase in firearm-related suicide, and the decrease for persons aged 25-74 years reflected a decrease in both firearm-related and non firearm-related suicide (Figure 2). Reported by: M LeMier, MPH, D Keck, Injury Prevention Program, Washington Dept of Health; P Cummings, MD, Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center, Seattle. Div of Violence Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC.
Editorial Note: The analysis by WDOH illustrates the usefulness of death-certificate data in assessing trends in suicide. Although overall suicide rates remained stable among residents of Washington during 1980-1995, age-specific analyses indicate that the rate of non firearm-related suicide increased significantly for children aged 5-14 years, and the rate of firearm-related suicide increased for persons aged 15-24 years and the elderly (aged greater than or equal to 75 years). Suicide rates for persons aged 25-74 years declined, reflecting a decrease in both firearm-related and non firearm-related suicide. These findings can assist in identifying risk factors for suicide and high-risk groups; such analyses should be considered by other state and local health departments to better understand local suicide trends and guide prevention efforts.
The high proportion of firearm-related suicides in Washington is consistent with national patterns during the 1980s and 1990s (4). The increases in Washington in the overall rates of suicide for youths and for the elderly and in the rate of firearm-related suicide for persons aged greater than or equal to 75 years also were consistent with national trends. Although reasons for these increasing trends in suicide are unknown, potential explanations include changes in the prevalence of depression, the use of more lethal methods, and changes in societal attitudes toward suicide among the elderly.
The findings in this analysis may have underestimated the true rate of suicide. The intent of some persons who commit suicide may be unknown or unrecognized; therefore, their deaths may not be reported as suicides. The magnitude of underreporting associated with these misclassification errors is unknown. In contrast, a previous report indicated that coding a non suicide death as a suicide probably is uncommon; in that study, 90% of deaths coded as suicides were coded correctly (5).
Routine collection of the circumstances of injury events may assist in more accurate coding of suicides on death certificates and in developing effective prevention strategies. In Washington, efforts to improve basic injury data collection include the reporting of firearm injury data to WDOH by all hospitals (admissions and emergency department visits), coroners, and medical examiners. In addition, WDOH is collecting information about the intent and circumstances of shootings and the types of firearms involved.
An important prevention measure for persons who are suicidal is to restrict access to highly lethal methods of suicide (6). For example, measures associated with reductions in suicide rates without compensatory increases in the use of other methods include removal of carbon monoxide from domestic gas (7), limiting the size of prescriptions to barbiturates and other drugs commonly used in self-poisonings (8), and restricting access to handguns (9). In addition to means restrictions, other interventions for reducing the risk for suicide include 1) training of clergy, tribal leaders, school personnel, healthcare professionals, and others who have contact with persons who may be contemplating suicide to recognize persons at risk for suicide and refer them for appropriate counseling; 2) educating the general public about warning signs for suicide and opportunities to seek help; 3) implementing screening programs for identifying and referring persons at highest risk for suicide; 4) improving access to or promoting crisis centers, hotlines, and peer support groups (including family and friends) for high-risk persons; and 5) implementing post-suicide actions to reduce the probability of cluster suicides (5). The effectiveness of each of these suicide-prevention strategies requires further assessment.
WDOH, in collaboration with the University of Washington School of Nursing, has developed a Youth Suicide Prevention Plan (10) that includes a public education campaign to heighten awareness among adults about the increasing problem of youth suicide and to teach adults how to recognize common suicide warning signs and how to respond to youth who exhibit these signs. In addition, the program provides adults working with high-risk youth with information about effective screening and crisis-intervention strategies. The goals of this plan are to 1) prevent both fatal and nonfatal suicide behaviors among youth; 2) reduce the impact of suicide and suicidal behaviors on individuals, families, and communities; and 3) improve access to and availability of appropriate prevention services for at-risk persons and groups. Although this program is designed to prevent suicide among youths, some elements of the program may be useful to prevent suicide among the elderly.
Suicide Among the Young
; my story isn't over
Have you seen anyone with a tattoo of a semi-colon? If not, you may not be looking close enough. They're popping up...everywhere.
That's right: the semicolon. It's a tattoo that has gained popularity in recent years, but unlike other random or mystifying trends, this one has a serious meaning behind it. (And no, it's not just the mark of a really committed grammar nerd.)
This mark represents mental health struggles and the importance of suicide prevention.
Project Semicolon was born from a social media movement in 2013.
They describe themselves as a "movement dedicated to presenting hope and love to those who are struggling with depression, suicide, addiction, and self-injury. Project Semicolon exists to encourage, love, and inspire."
But why a semicolon?
"A semicolon is used when an author could've chosen to end their sentence, but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life."
Originally created as a day where people were encouraged to draw a semicolon on their bodies and photograph it, it quickly grew into something greater and more permanent. Today, people all over the world are tattooing the mark as a reminder of their struggle, victory, and survival.
I spoke with Jenn Brown and Jeremy Jaramillo of The Semicolon Tattoo Project, an organization inspired by the semicolon movement. Along with some friends, Jenn and Jeremy saw an opportunity to both help the community and reduce the stigma around mental illness.
In 2012, over 43 million Americans dealt with a mental illness . Mental illness is not uncommon, yet there is a stigma around it that prevents a lot of people from talking about it and that's a barrier to getting help.
More conversations that lead to less stigma? Yes please.
"[The tattoo] is a conversation starter," explains Jenn. "People ask what it is and we get to tell them the purpose."
"I think if you see someone's tattoo that you're interested in, that's fair game to start a conversation with someone you don't know," adds Jeremy. "It provides a great opportunity to talk. Tattoos are interesting marks we put on our bodies that are important to us."
Last year, The Semicolon Tattoo Project held an event at several tattoo shops where people could get a semicolon tattoo for a flat rate. "That money was a fundraiser for our crisis center," said Jenn. In total, over 400 people received semicolon tattoos in one day. Even better, what began as a local event has spread far and wide, and people all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos.
And it's not just about the conversation it's about providing tangible support and help too.
Jenn and Jeremy work with the Agora Crisis Center. Founded in 1970, it's one of the oldest crisis centers in the country. Through The Semicolon Tattoo Project, they've been able to connect even more people with the help they need during times of crisis. (If you need someone to talk to, scroll to the end of the article for the center's contact information.)
So next time you see this small punctuation tattoo, remember the words of Upworthy writer Parker Molloy:
"I recently decided to get a semicolon tattoo. Not because it's trendy (though, it certainly seems to be at the moment), but because it's a reminder of the things I've overcome in my life. I've dealt with anxiety, depression, and gender dysphoria for the better part of my life, and at times, that led me down a path that included self-harm and suicide attempts.
No matter how we get there, the end result is so
important: help and support for more people to also be able
to say " I'm still here."
The suicide rate among middle-aged Americans climbed a startling 28 percent in a decade, a period that included the recession and the mortgage crisis, the government reported.
The trend was most pronounced among white men and women in that age group. Their suicide rate jumped 40 percent between 1999 and 2010. But the rates in younger and older people held steady. And there was little change among middle-aged blacks, Hispanics and most other racial and ethnic groups, the report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found. Why did so many middle-aged whites -- that is, those who are 35 to 64 years old -- take their own lives? One theory suggests the recession caused more emotional trauma in whites, who tend not to have the same kind of church support and extended families that blacks and Hispanics do. The economy was in recession from the end of 2007 until mid-2009. Even well afterward, polls showed most Americans remained worried about weak hiring, a depressed housing market and other problems.
Is The Recession To Blame?
There are several theories. Some experts suggest that white baby boomers are just more prone to depression and suicide. Others have blamed the growing sale and abuse of prescription painkillers. And others posit the economy.
Pat Smith, violence-prevention program coordinator for the Michigan Department of Community Health, said the recession -- which hit manufacturing-heavy states particularly hard -- may have pushed already-troubled people over the brink. Being unable to find a job or settling for one with lower pay or prestige could add "that final weight to a whole chain of events," she said.
People ages 35 to 64 account for about 57 percent of suicides in the U.S.
A Rash Of 'Economic Suicides' In Europe
Last year, AOL Jobs reported that there had been an uptick in suicides in Europe, which was being blamed on the economy. A study found that the UK was seeing about 1,000 more suicides a year from 2008 to 2010 than historic trends would have suggested. The researchers also said that the regions that saw the greatest rise in suicides were those that had the largest increases in unemployment. While the authors conceded that a link between unemployment and the rise in suicides is still not conclusive, they also note that a slight decrease in suicides in 2010 coincided with a minor improvement in male employment that year.
In countries like Greece, Portugal and Italy, where unemployment has reached disastrous proportions, most people agree that the economy has been causing a spike in suicides. Greece saw a 40 percent increase in suicides in the first half of 2011 compared to that same period in 2010.
The CDC report contained surprising information about how middle-aged people kill themselves: During the period studied, hangings overtook drug overdoses in that age group, becoming the No. 2 manner of suicide. But guns remained far in the lead and were the instrument of death in nearly half of all suicides among the middle-aged in 2010. (The CDC does not collect gun ownership statistics and did not look at the relationship between suicide rates and the prevalence of firearms.)
For the entire U.S. population, there were 38,350 suicides in 2010, making it the nation's 10th leading cause of death, the CDC said. The overall national suicide rate climbed from 12 suicides per 100,000 people in 1999 to 14 per 100,000 in 2010. That was a 15 percent increase. For the middle-aged, the rate jumped from about 14 per 100,000 to nearly 18 -- a 28 percent increase. Among whites in that age group, it spiked from about 16 to 22. Suicide prevention efforts have tended to concentrate on teenagers and the elderly, but research over the past several years has begun to focus on the middle-aged. The new CDC report is being called the first to show how the trend is playing out nationally and to look in depth at the racial and geographic breakdown.
Thirty-nine out of 50 states registered a statistically significant increase in suicide rates among the middle-aged. The West and the South had the highest rates. It's not clear why, but one factor may be cultural differences in willingness to seek help during tough times, Simon said.
Also, it may be more difficult to find counseling and mental health services in certain places, he added.
The CDC did not break out suicides of current and former
military service members, a tragedy that has been getting
increased attention. But a recent Department of Veterans
Affairs report concluded that suicides among veterans have
been relatively stable in the past decade and that veterans
have been a shrinking percentage of suicides nationally.
The primary risk factor for suicide is depression in combination with substance abuse, and this could include alcohol, illicit drugs, and prescription drugs. An estimated 90 percent of those who end up taking their own lives fit into this category
Suicide has overtaken traffic accidents as the leading cause of injury-related death in the US. The rate of suicide rose by 15 percent between 2000 and 2009, and poisoning (the number one cause of which is prescription drugs) rose by a whopping 128 percent. Some estimate as many as 20 percent of drug overdoses labeled as accidental may actually be intentional suicides
Thirty-six percent of overdoses involve prescription opioid painkillers, which cause more overdose deaths than heroin and cocaine combined
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide rates tend to rise and fall along with recessions and economic booms. In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, and in Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent between 2005 and 2010
Another important factor is poor health, which can stretch already strained finances to the very limit. And then theres excessive use of multiple prescription drugs. Polypharmacy can have a devastating effect on both physical and mental health, including increased risk of depression, physical accidents like falls, and/or self-harm, along with symptoms that may otherwise exacerbate depression
Red Flags to help identify suicidal ideation,
emergency help information, as well as long-term (non-acute)
strategies to help boost your mental and emotional
resilience are listed.
If you are feeling desperate or have any thoughts of
suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a
toll-free number 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or call 911, or
simply go to your nearest Hospital Emergency
Just over half of last year's newspaper stories that mentioned suicides and the holidays reported the persistent myth that suicides rise around Christmas. The Annenberg team checked Nexus for every U.S. newspaper story mentioning suicide and the holidays between Thanksgiving and the first week of the new year. Newspapers were doing better at debunking this myth from 2000 to 2006; fewer than 10% of stories confirmed this phony connection by the 2006 holiday season, according to the study. But in 2007, 51% of stories mentioning suicide and the holidays said there were higher deaths around Christmas.
Source: USA Today, 12/11/08
Penny Coleman writes on AlterNet: "Earlier this year, using the clout that only major broadcast networks seem capable of mustering, CBS News contacted the governments of all 50 states requesting their official records of death by suicide going back 12 years. They heard back from 45 of the 50. From the mountains of gathered information, they sifted out the suicides of those Americans who had served in the armed forces. What they discovered is that in 2005 alone - and remember, this is just in 45 states - there were at least 6,256 veteran suicides, 120 every week for a year and an average of 17 every day."
Intensive therapy can fight substance abuse, depression, study found
The risk of suicide for people with a history of attempted suicide or deliberate self harm (parasuicide) persists without decline for two decades, finds a study in this week's BMJ. Providing a high standard of care to these patients could help to reduce this rate.
Source: British Medical Journal, www.intelihealth.com/IH/ihtIH/EMIHC000/333/333/358043.html
One day next week, three nurses will sit down at telephones in Beijing and do something that would have been unheard of in China just a decade ago: They'll try to stop anyone who calls from committing suicide.
Employing an innovative approach to studying suicide attempters who either used a highly lethal method or would have died without medical help, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have identified several non-traditional health risk factors that have rarely been included in suicide research. These non-traditional health associated risk factors include: acute alcohol use, changing residences, existing medical conditions, and characteristics of impulsive suicide behavior. The findings are published in a special supplement to the spring edition of Suicide and Life-Threatening Behavior (SLTB). SLTB is the official Journal of the American Association of Suicidology.
Women seek helpmen die. Jed Diamond
We can't tear out a single page from our life, but we can throw the whole book into the fire. - George Sand
Don't blow your brains out! They are right where they need to be.
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