In 2014, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and was the 2nd leading cause of death for those ages 10-34. Men commit suicide four times as often as females, often using lethal methods such as firearms or hanging. 90% of those who have attempted suicide have a diagnosable mental illness.
Many myths surround suicide about the warning signs and interventions.
Warning signs include:
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and life.
- Increasingly dangerous risk taking behaviors.
- Giving away possessions, saying good-bye to people, updating or creating a will.
- Obtaining a firearm.
- Obsession with death and afterlife.
- You would be better off without me.
- Frequent discussions about death.
- Sudden change in behavior from depressed to happy and optimistic.
- Expressing hopelessness.
- Diagnosis of clinical depression that is not responding to treatment.
Every warning sign or suicidal gesture should be taken seriously and treatment sought. Depression is treatable and suicide can be prevented with proper treatment. Suicide must be discussed openly with the individual and they must feel supported in seeking treatment.
If someone you care about meets any of these warning signs, treatment must be started immediately. Contact your local hospitals for assistance in getting treatment. September 10-16 is National Suicide Awareness Week and September is National Suicide Prevention Month.