Photo Credit: RandallDSLR, Pixabay
In 2015, 9.8 million adults had serious suicidal thoughts, and of those people, 2.7 made suicidal plans and 1.4 million attempted suicide. A total of 44,000 people died by suicide, making it the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. Over the past 15 years, the total suicide rate has increased 24 percent. If you’re one of the 9.8 million people with suicidal thoughts, know that you have somewhere to turn and there are long-term prevention strategies to help you get back on track to enjoying life.
Emergency Resources During a Crisis
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides online emotional support, crisis intervention, and suicide prevention services through phone calls, text, and chat. To speak over the phone, dial 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Veterans can press 1 when calling to reach the Veterans Crisis Line. Send the message “home” to 741741 to reach someone through text. To chat online, visit their website.
A live crisis counselor is available 24 hours a day, every day of the week. This individual is a trained volunteer. While counselors can provide support, they aren’t professionals, so they cannot offer medical advice. All conversations are confidential unless you are believed to be in immediate danger
Suicide in the United States
While more people between the ages of 45 and 54 committed suicide than any other age group, it’s only the fifth leading cause of death in this age group. It was the second leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 15 and 34 and the third leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10 and 14.
Males die by suicide four times more often than females. For females, the suicide rate was highest for individuals who were between the ages of 45 and 64. For males, the rate was the highest in the age range of 75 and over.
Depression and Drug Abuse in Relation to Suicide
Roughly 17 million adults suffer from depression during any one-year period in the United States. While treatment can be successful up to 80 percent of the time, if left untreated, depression can lead to higher rates of suicide. In fact, depression is present in at least 50 percent of all suicides.
While depression and other mood disorders are the top risk factor for suicide, substance abuse is a close second. “In fact, research has shown that the strongest predictor of suicide is alcoholism, not a psychiatric diagnosis,” says Psychology Today. A person who suffers from addiction is roughly six times more likely to commit suicide than any member of the general population. Read More – Destress Your Work Life
Long-Term Prevention Strategies
Suicide prevention was previously believed achievable by treating underlying conditions like mood disorders and addictions. However, evidence now suggests that suicide prevention should include specific treatments for underlying conditions that are combined with strategies that directly address suicide risk.
One strategy that directly addresses suicide risk is safety planning, which involves a medical professional working collaboratively with a patient to develop an action plan in case of a crisis. Interventions such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavior therapy for suicide prevention (CBT-SP) have been shown to reduce suicidal behaviors.
Individuals also benefit from having meaningful and supportive relationships with family, friends, and members of the school and others in the community. Supportive relationships with medical professionals are also important. Resilience is a protective factor against suicide too. Resilience is one’s ability to cope with adversity and change. Building resilience is possible by increasing life skills, working on positive self-concept, and learning stress management.
If you’re having thoughts of suicide, reach out to someone at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also contact one of your medical providers, preferably a counselor or mental health professional. Know that you’re not alone, and you don’t have to suffer. By reaching out for help, you’re taking the first step toward finding your way back to happiness and hope.
By Jennifer Scott – Spiritfinder.org
Additional Reading – How To Deal With A Sucky Boss