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.
Serious about commiting suicide call here: 1-800-SUICIDE
Click here for
Now a word from Pink
Are You Feeling
It's Gets Better
Related Issues: Talking
With Kids About Tough Issues, Depression,
Superman by Jimmy Charles
A song about prostate cancer thata directly applies to suicide
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
Many people get depressed at one point or another throughout life. Whether its caused by death of a family member, environmental stress, or mental illness, feelings of depression can become difficult for many people. Unfortunately some people get so depressed as a result of their mental illness or life circumstances, that they consider suicide as an option to escape from their emotional pain.
Most people who consider suicide dont really want to die, they just dont know how to cope with or eliminate the pain they are going through. If you know someone who is suicidal or you are suicidal yourself, getting professional assistance and learning suicide prevention strategies can be of significant help. Included below are some suicide prevention quotes that can be referenced during difficult times.
10 Powerful Suicide Prevention Quotes & Sayings
Below are quotes that align with suicide prevention. The underlying message of all these quotes is to continue living, with each quote providing a unique reason and perspective. For most people, suicidal feelings are caused by a lack of pleasure and/or an inability to cope with the pain that they are experiencing.
By increasing pleasure and coping resources in a persons life, the possibility of suicide diminishes significantly. If you want to stay educated on the topic of suicide, you may want to read the following: suicide warning signs, causes of suicide, and suicide risk factors.
1. When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long. Unknown
This is a powerful quote that challenges a person who is suicidal to think about the reasons why they continued to fight when times got tough. Most people have powerful reasons for fighting through their pain. This quote makes you think about the aspects of your life that have significant meaning and that force you to keep going even when you dont feel like it. Whether you want to keep fighting to provide for your family, make a difference in the world, or to be strong for your significant other, chances are good you have a reason to keep living.
2. Suicide doesnt end the chances of life getting worse, it eliminates the possibility of it ever getting any better. Unknown
Many people who are deeply depressed have difficulty realizing that their life will eventually get better. Whether its from a scientific breakthrough involving a new treatment for their condition or something as simple as making a new friend, we can recover from feelings of depression and pain. If you commit suicide, you eliminate all hope for the future and you eliminate the chance to find enjoyment in life.
3. If you are looking for a sign not to kill yourself, this is it. Unknown
If you are looking for some sign to stay alive, consider this quote your sign. Whether you know it or not, the world needs your talents and unique inner gifts. You have the opportunity to make some sort of positive difference in this world. If you were looking for a sign from God, the Universe, or an Angel to continue living, consider this your sign. Sometimes a simple sign letting you know that someone cares and wants you to keep living is all that you need.
4. Anyone desperate enough for suicide should be desperate enough to go to creative extremes to solve problems: elope at midnight, stow away on the boat to New Zealand and start over, do what they always wanted to do but were afraid to try. Richard Bach
Many people who contemplate suicide dont realize how much enjoyment they could get out of life if they challenged these feelings. This quote by Richard Bach says that if you are desperate enough for suicide, you should be able to use other extreme methods to overcome problems and cope with life. If there were things that you always wanted to try, you mind as well do those things before you end your life. Since there are so many fun things to do, you mind as well build up the courage to do them while living rather than permanently ending your life. This quote should serve as a calling to do the things that youve always wanted to do, without any fear.
5. The real reason for not committing suicide is because you always know how swell life gets again after the hell is over. Ernest Hemingway
When people are stuck in a deep depression, suicide can seem like an appealing opportunity to escape. However, even the most depressed people have experienced pleasure (even if brief) throughout life. This quote should be especially appealing to those with bipolar disorder or those that have experienced relief from depression in the past.
Even though you may currently be depressed, the hell will eventually end and you will be glad that you stayed alive to experience the pleasurable aspects of life. Pleasure and pain are two aspects of life (e.g. yin and the yang) they are inseparable. If you are experiencing the painful side of the coin right now, you will inevitably experience the pleasurable side in the future.
6. If you want to show me that you really love me, dont say that you would die for me, instead stay alive for me. Unknown
This quote expresses deep sentiment from a friend, spouse, or a partner in a close relationship. When talking to someone who is suicidal or depressed, they may feel like a burden to others and want to end their life. This quote should serve as a personal reminder from others that they would much rather you stay alive than die because you feel like a burden. If you really want to sacrifice your life for someone else, do it by living and contributing to make their life better rather than eliminating your existence.
7. Place your hand over your heart, can you feel it? That is called purpose. Youre alive for a reason so dont ever give up. Unknown
When feeling suicidal, many people believe they have no reason to continue living. The fact that you are alive and have a beating heart is reason enough to keep living. Many depressed people search for a specific purpose in life when in reality, you dont need a purpose or reason for being alive. If you are alive, you have the opportunity to do whatever you want in the world. You may not have awakened to a specific life mission yet, and thats alright you have plenty of time to figure out what you want your purpose to be.
8. The person who completes suicide, dies once. Those left behind die a thousand deaths, trying to relive those terrible moments and understand Why? Clark (2001)
Although the person who commits suicide only dies once, everyone that knew them will be affected by their death. This means that the act of suicide can cause a ripple effect, dispersing pain and grief among the survivors. If you take your own life, the act may cause other people to become deeply saddened and depressed. Essentially many of the emotions that you experienced while depressed get passed on to remaining survivors.
It can be very difficult to recover from the death of a loved one, but it is usually more difficult if the individual took their own life. The act of suicide leaves people behind with feelings of confusion, shame, and guilt that they couldnt have done something about it. This essentially drains them of their livelihood and kills them many times on the inside. In some cases, the pain that a survivor feels actually leads them to follow through with the same act; further exacerbating the negative ripples.
9. Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
This quote doesnt apply to everyone who is feeling suicidal, because not everyone has temporary problems. In the event that you dont have a temporary problem, please ignore this quote and read some of the others. With that said, many people do end up feeling suicidal as a result of significant, yet temporary changes that life throws at us. Examples of temporary problems include experiencing a break up in a relationship or losing a job.
These are highly significant changes that can make even the most optimistic, high-functioning people feel suicidal. In these cases, it is important to realize that the act of committing suicide would be a permanent solution to a problem that is only temporary you will eventually learn, grow, and heal from the situation. Chaotic life circumstances such as moving to a new city, feeling lonely, getting bullied, and being in debt are all temporary. As you continue living, you will learn to cope with these problems and will realize that suicide was never a good option.
10. Never never never give up. Winston Churchill
The act of suicide is associated with giving up on life. Even though you may feel so much pain that you dont know how youre going to survive, keep fighting to live another day. It may feel as though you are living in a nightmare and feel completely hopeless, but continue to push through each day. By never giving up you are essentially building inner strength and resilience that nobody can ever take away.
When giving up seems like the easiest option and odds are stacked against you, always keep pushing and always keep going. The resistance from fighting our suicidal feelings often accumulates, and we feel as though we will collapse. Sometimes life challenges us to keep going even when we feel as though recovery is impossible.
Other Suicide Prevention Quotes
Several other suicide prevention quotes have been compiled below. If you have another quote that you found helpful for suicide prevention, feel free to share it in the comments section below. If youd like to read other related sayings, be sure to check out suicidal quotes and depression quotes for further inspiration.
Because if you kill yourself, youre also going to kill the people who love you.
Suicide prevention quotes can be helpful
If you have ever been suicidal, you likely understand that it can be quite difficult to escape the feeling. While suicidal, sometimes the only thing you can do is to give yourself a little bit of psychological hope in the form of inspirational quotes. Quotes dont take the pain away, but they usually shift our perspective enough to give us a little bit of hope, allowing us to make it through the day and cope with the pain.
It can be incredibly difficult to continue living when we feel suicidal. No one chooses to feel suicidal intentionally, but this feeling is a reality for many people. You may currently be in a lot of pain, but you never know whats in store for your future. Your future could be filled with more pleasure than you ever expected, but if you follow through with suicide, youll never get to experience that pleasure or even get to experience relief.
Life is never going to be easy for anyone,
but you can learn from your past, live in the present, and
work to better your future. No matter who you are or how
suicidal you feel, there is treasure on your inside. You are
completely unique and have a gift to offer the world that is
completely unique. Leaving the world prematurely by taking
your own life will also be taking the gift that you were
meant to share with others, and ultimately this world will
not be as bright as it was meant to be.
If you or someone you know is depressed, there is a chance that suicidal thoughts may accompany their depression. If left untreated, depression is known to be one of the top causes of suicide. In up to 90% of suicides, an underlying mental illness usually depression was the most influential factor. Although untreated mental health issues can be the biggest influence on whether someone makes a decision to take their life, there are other suicide risk factors such as: being unemployed, financial troubles, death of a loved one, relationship problems, etc.
These other factors and life circumstances can have a huge impact on whether someone decides to follow through with the act. In most cases, there is some sort of treatment available that will help improve a persons situation. Individuals that are suicidal do not usually really want to die, rather they see dying as the only solution to the pain that they are currently facing. Typically when a persons ability to cope with their pain and/or their pain is reduced, they no longer feel suicidal.
For individuals that are concerned with the wellbeing of another person who is suicidal, it is important to understand suicide warning signs or behaviors that could signal that the person is prepared to follow through with the act. If you recognize any of these warning signs, be sure to take the person seriously and get help. Get the person in for therapy and/or if they pose an immediate threat to their own life, call the police.
Suicide Warning Signs: List Of Possibilities
Below are a list of common warning signs to look for when a person is suicidal. Keep in mind that not every suicidal person will exhibit all of these signs. Additionally some people may be suicidal and not exhibit any of these signs. However, usually those who are close to the suicidal person should be able to pick up on a few signs.
1. Talking about suicide: Perhaps the biggest and most obvious warning sign is when a person talks about suicide. They may casually bring up the topic, but usually the individual may talk about wanting to take their own life. The problem with this is that many people do not take this talk very seriously or think its just a phase that will eventually pass. If someone brings up suicide and/or suggests that they may take their own life, it must be taken very seriously.
2. Untreated depression: If a person is clinically depressed, they may be prone to crying spells, have difficulty getting out of bed, problems sleeping and eating, and feel hopeless about their situation. When a persons depression is untreated, they are in a state of pain and basically shut down. Their thinking becomes clouded by the depression that they are experiencing and they may feel as though life is pointless due to the way that they feel.
3. Giving away possessions: One of the most obvious warning signs is when a depressed individual gives away all of their possessions. Uneducated people may be confused as to why a person would give away their property without reason. Usually family and/or close friends will take note of a person giving all of their valuable property away. When they confront the person, they may say that they wont need it anymore, etc. Giving things away can be one of the key signs that a person is planning on following through with taking their life.
4. Saying goodbye: In many cases, a person will visit family and/or other close friends prior to following through with the act to say goodbye. They want to tie up loose ends and let the people that are close to them know that they care about them a lot. Sometimes it may not seem like a goodbye, rather it may seem as though the person is spending some time with everyone that is important to them. Watch out for this type of behavior the person will generally pursue most immediate family and friends for some closure. Keep in mind that saying goodbye could also be over the phone or via text message.
5. Suicide notes: An extremely obvious warning sign is that of a suicide note. In this note a person may write about a variety of topics including: how much they will miss their family, that they love their friends, the pain that they are dealing with, and in some cases, why they must end their life. If you find a suicide note, be sure to take it very seriously because the person may follow through with the act. Get the person some sort of help and if they are unwilling, you may need to call 911 with the note in hand.
6. Alcohol & drugs: In many cases when a person is suicidal, they may turn to abusing alcohol or other drugs as a way to escape these feelings. Although they may find temporary relief from their pain as a result of their substance use, in many cases alcohol and drugs make the situation worse. Many times the person ends up increasingly depressed following the usage of substances. It should also be noted that when a person is serious about following through with the act of suicide, they may drink, pop pills, etc. so that they can build up the courage follow through with it. Be on the lookout for the person using alcohol, drugs, and/or both more frequently to the point of abuse this is a warning sign.
7. Change to calm demeanor: Often leading up to a suicide, a person will exhibit a change in mood from being very sad to a general calmness and/or in some cases, appearing happy. If you notice that a person is all of a sudden very calm and was previously extremely depressed, this may be a red flag. The calmness and/or happier appearance is generally due the person being convinced that they are going to follow through with the act.
8. Reckless behavior: When a person has decided to take their own life, they may engage in more reckless behavior and decision making. For example, they may speed while driving, drive through red lights, try illicit drugs, have unprotected sex, shoplifting, etc. This reckless behavior is usually due to the person not caring about their life anymore. In some cases, this behavior is easily noticed by others close to the individual who is suicidal. If you notice someone acting reckless, especially someone who was previously more reserved, it may be warning sign.
9. Researching suicide methods: You may notice on the persons internet browser history that they have been researching painless suicide methods and/or how to kill themselves. If you see this in the persons search history, take it very seriously and assume that they are going to follow through with the act. In this case, the person needs some sort of immediate help and intervention to help them get out of the pain that they are in. Help guide the person by getting them in for help and if they refuse, call the police.
10. Buying suicide materials: If you catch someone who is severely depressed and/or suicidal purchasing materials to help them follow through with the act, this needs to be addressed. For example, the person may be visiting pawn shops or auctions looking to buy a gun. They may also be buying things like rope, pills, knives, razors, etc. online or at general stores. Purchasing materials shows that the person is ready to go through with the act, and now has the means to carry the act out.
11. Creating a Will: A person who has plans of suicide may take the steps to create a will so that their loved ones get their possessions when they pass. Additionally if a person already has a will, they may make some last-minute revisions to it before following through with the act. If you notice any preoccupation with the creation of a will accompanied by the person giving away prized possessions, this could be a warning sign.
12. Social withdrawal or isolation: Another very common warning sign leading up to suicide is that of social withdrawal. Many people isolate themselves from friends, colleagues, and other family members. This increased social withdrawal can actually make the person more depressed and suicidal than they already are. Prior to committing suicide, a person may gradually withdraw from friendships, social commitments, and extracurricular or work related functions. If you notice someone (especially someone who was previously very involved) withdrawing from these functions, this could be another indication that the person is suicidal.
13. Talking about being a burden: If you notice someone talking about being a burden to others including friends, family, etc. this could indicate that they feel as if they arent wanted. Feelings of being a burden may make the person feel like an outcast and may contribute to depression and/or suicidal ideation. When someone frequently says that they are a burden and/or all that they do is cause problems for others, this can be a warning sign.
14. Feeling hopeless: When someone says that they are in a hopeless situation or that they have no hope for their future, this could suggest suicide as well. Besides feeling hopeless to change their situation, the person may describe themselves as being helpless and/or worthless. Anytime someone lacks hope to improve their current situation or future and thinks that they are worthless, this signifies that they need some sort of help. If a person feels this way, especially for a long period of time, they may end up turning to suicide.
15. Preoccupation with death: Individuals who are preoccupied with death and/or think about it often may be considering suicide. You may notice a person openly talking about death, researching it, and considering the afterlife. Although death can be a topic of normal conversation, the preoccupation with it is what could suggest that a person may be suicidal.
16. Previous suicide attempt: It is estimated that between 20% and 50% of people who take their own life had previously attempted suicide. If someone you know has previously attempted suicide and is acting suicidal, take it very seriously. Statistics show that if a person has tried it once, they are more likely to try it again in the future. If you suspect that something may be in the works, talk to the person and listen to whats on their mind.
Other warning signs of suicide include:
?Commentary such as I want to die If you hear anyone say things like I wish I was never born, I wish I was dead, or I dont want to be here anymore, they are probably thinking of suicide. Keep this in mind and either help the person yourself or get them some sort of help.
?Rage / revenge seeking In some cases a person may be motivated by rage or threaten to take their life as some sort of revenge. Although most cases of suicide involve depression, there are cases involving anger and rage.
?Losing interest in life People who lose interest in life and/or previously important things are likely already going through depression. If the person is not able to regain some sort of interest, they may be thinking of suicide.
What should you do if you think someone is suicidal?
Get help. The best thing you can do for someone who is suicidal is to get them some sort of help. You could get them to agree to go in for therapy and/or some sort of psychiatric intervention. If the person refuses to change and you suspect that they may take their own life, do not hesitate to call the police. Many people are afraid to call the police when a person is suicidal, yet it can be the exact intervention needed to turn a persons situation around.
Prior to calling the police though, talk to the person by speaking up. Dont argue with the person, just be empathetic to their situation and promise that youre going to get some sort of help. Once you ask a few questions about their situation, determine the degree to which you think the person will carry out the act. Ask them whether they have a plan, whether they have materials, if they know when they would do it, or if they still have the intention.
If the person says that they have a plan and materials,
you may want to recruit extra help. If you are able to
remove potentially lethal objects from the persons
possession, take this step. Continue to offer the person
help and support and encourage them to seek treatment. Also
come up with a safety plan or contract to further minimize
their risk of self-harm. It takes a lot of courage to
intervene when someone is suicidal, but at the end of the
day, you may save someones life.
; 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."
Each year, more than a thousand college students in America die by suicide. Only traffic accidents take more of their lives. A metro mom wants the tragic loss of her son to prompt others to think and talk about depression and suicide in hopes of preventing it.
Jason Arkin's mom, Dr. Karen Arkin, says he was a good kid. He was a best friend to his sister, Jennifer. He was always a perfectionist. Jason would go on to become an Eagle Scout and a National Merit Scholar at Blue Valley Northwest High School.
"People would describe him as a perfect kid. I hate that word perfect. I think it's a terrible word," said Dr. Arkin.
She says her son's perfectionism and his chronic depression were a lethal combination. At age 12, Jason heard a presentation about a young man's depression and suicide.
"And Jason said, 'Mom, I've always been like that guy, and my heart just shattered,'" recalled Dr. Arkin.
She and her husband, Dr. Steven Arkin, are neurologists with Saint Luke's Health System. They got their son treatment, but she says after he turned 18 and went to Northwestern University, they couldn't force him to get treatment.
"For someone who's depressed, especially a male, they just don't ask for help. They really don't," she said.
Dr. Arkin says her son was in a highly competitive electrical engineering program.
"He would say things like he was the dumbest student at Northwestern," she recalled.
In May, just a few weeks before finals, and just five days before his twenty-first birthday, Jason took his own life.
"And I can't understand it. I can't pretend that I'll ever understand it," she said.
Dr. Arkin encourages other parents to talk with their children about their pain, hopelessness and despair. Talk about depression.
"Don't be ashamed or embarrassed to talk about it. You know, never be ashamed to love your child enough to have the difficult conversations with them," she said.
And get them help while you can.
The group Suicide Awareness Survivor Support Missouri-Kansas will hold its annual Remembrance Walk this Sunday, September 6, at Loose Park in Kansas City, Missouri. Registration is at 8 a.m. with the walk beginning at 9 a.m. The group says the event will remember those who've lost their lives to suicide, homicide, fire, accident and other traumatic deaths. For more information, e-mail email@example.com.
The first Jason Arkin Memorial Walk will be held Sunday, September 20, Congregation Beth Torah, 6100 W. 127th Street, Overland Park, Kansas. People are invited to gather at 7:30 a.m. with the walk starting at 8:15 a.m. Donations may be made to the Greater Kansas City Mental Health Coalition. For more, click here.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide
Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
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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