Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness.

In October some friends and I  (Team Eradicator) will be walking to support the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Please help us by donating to the cause. 

  • Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide.

  • Nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.

  • 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

  • Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide.

  • Recent data puts yearly medical costs for suicide at nearly $100 million (2005).

  • Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.

  • Suicide rates are highest for people between the ages of 40 and 59.

  • Native American peoples are most likely to die by suicide, followed by white individuals.
Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give warnings. Prevent the suicide of loved ones by learning to recognize the signs of someone at risk, taking those signs seriously and knowing how to respond to them.
Warning signs of suicide include:
  • Observable signs of serious depression:
    Unrelenting low mood
    Anxiety, psychic pain and inner tension
    Sleep problems
  • Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
  • Recent impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
  • Threatening suicide or expressing a strong wish to die
  • Making a plan:
    Giving away prized possessions
    Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
    Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
  • Unexpected rage or anger
The emotional crises that usually precede suicide are often recognizable and treatable. Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often it is rather expressed as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that had been enjoyable. One can help prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders, in particular:
  • Major depression (especially when combined with alcohol and/or drug abuse)
  • Bipolar depression
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence
  • Drug abuse and dependence
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
Depression and the other mental disorders that may lead to suicide are -- in most cases -- both recognizable and treatable. Remember, depression can be lethal.
The core symptoms of major depression are a "down" or depressed mood most of the day or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed for at least two weeks, as well as:
  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Intense anxiety, agitation, restlessness or being slowed down
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Decreased concentration, indecisiveness or poorer memory
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-reproach or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Between 25 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Those who have made suicide attempts are at higher risk for actually taking their own lives.

The signs that most directly warn of suicide include:
  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself (weapons, pills or other means)
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Has made plans or preparations for a potentially serious attempt
Other warning signs include expressions or other indications of certain intense feelings in addition to depression, in particular:
  • Insomnia
  • Intense anxiety, usually exhibited as psychic pain or internal tension, as well as panic attacks
  • Feeling desperate or trapped -- like there's no way out
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling there's no reason or purpose to live
  • Rage or anger
Certain behaviors can also serve as warning signs, particularly when they are not characteristic of the person's normal behavior. These include:
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
  • Engaging in violent or self-destructive behavior
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends or family

Take it Seriously

  • Fifty to 75 percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
  • Imminent signs must be taken seriously.

Be Willing to Listen

  • Start by telling the person you are concerned and give him/her examples.
  • If he/she is depressed, don't be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide, or if he/she has a particular plan or method in mind.
  • Ask if they have a therapist and are taking medication.
  • Do not attempt to argue someone out of suicide. Rather, let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone, that suicidal feelings are temporary and that depression can be treated. Avoid the temptation to say, "You have so much to live for," or "Your suicide will hurt your family."

Seek Professional Help

  • Be actively involved in encouraging the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
  • Individuals contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may have to do more.
  • Help the person find a knowledgeable mental health professional or a reputable treatment facility, and take them to the treatment.

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