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suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention

Suicide prevention is not only a possibility…suicide is 100% PREVENTABLE! While people who intend to take their own lives can be hostile, they can still be convinced to reconsider their intentions through suicide prevention. More often than not, suicide victims reach out before they take their life, because deep down inside…they really don’t want to do it. This article is about suicide prevention and should be read be everybody because suicide prevention SO important!

suicide prevention

Suicide was ranked tenth in the top causes of death in the US in 2010. In that year, suicide accounted for 38,364 deaths. Statistics show that for every 100,000 deaths, 11.3 are suicides. Even worse is the fact that for every suicidal death, there are approximately 11 attempted suicides. SOMEBODY dies by suicide every 13.7 minutes in the United States alone!!!

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) defines suicide risk factors as “characteristics and conditions” that increase chances of a suicide occurring. The foundation says that suicide is most likely to happen if a person exhibits more than one of the following risk factors:

• Substance abuse
• Anti-social or borderline personality disorder
• Conduct disorder (prevalent in youths)
• Schizophrenia
• Depression
• Psychotic disorder
• Aggression and impulsivity especially where mental disorder exists
• If the person has attempted suicide in the past
• A history of murder or attempted murder in the family
• Extreme pain or a serious medical condition

Other factors might include:

• Violence in the family including physical and sexual abuse
• Existence of firearms in the home
• Incarceration

The environment where the person spends most of his or her time can also increase the possibility of suicide. High stressing moments, such as the loss of a loved one, trouble with the law or financial problems may mentally disorient the victim. Unemployment and harassment/bullying. as well as relationship conflicts, have also been found to increase chances of suicides. Finally, exposure to suicide, whether in real life or in graphics, can also influence a victim.

suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention

The breakdown of risk by demographics can be summarized as follows:

Gender — there are more male than female suicides in the US with statistics showing that for every female suicide, there are four male suicides.

Age — adults aged 65 years or more are at the highest risk of suicide with 14.3 suicide deaths for every 100,000 deaths. In young people, those aged between 20 and 24 are at the highest risk with 12.7 deaths per 100,000 compared to 0.9 and 6.9 per 100,000 for age groups 10-14 and 15-19, respectively. It is not surprising that the highest risk is associated with 20-24 year olds, as discussed in Military Suicide in America.

suicide prevention

Suicide Prevention

There are conditions or characteristics that may help decrease suicide risks. As an example, individuals who posses certain skills or abilities, can be encouraged to get involved with solving problems, helping others and regain confidence and self-meaning. The administration of meaningful heath care is also an important component in helping potential victims. Most important are positive relationship with peers, family members, the community and other social institutions, as these groups may help people at risk lean to be resilient.

Many times there are warning signs and you need to be aware of them. When recognized, suicide prevention should be approached boldly. Someone who is contemplating suicide may say it directly “I am going to commit suicide” or indirectly “I see no other way out.” Such a person will show at least one of the following signs:

• Talking about how he/she intends to take his/her life.
• Looking for tools of suicide such as guns and medicines.
• Loss of interest in things.
• Social isolation
• Desperation
• Humiliation, rage, agitation and irritation

Most important is to take it seriously! About 75% of people who commit suicide tell someone about it before it happens. If the person shows any of the warning signs above, do not hesitate to take action. You can contact AFPS or any of the suicide prevention societies in the US including the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide (SPTS), the American Society of Suicidology (ASS) and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) among others.

suicide preventionsuicide prevention

Talk to the person. Start by telling this person how much you are concerned about their well being. You shouldn’t be afraid to ask whether they are planning to commit suicide and what methods they plan to use. Ask if they are on medication so that the doctor can be consulted. Finally, instead of urging them out of suicide, make them know that you care about them.

As a part of suicide prevention, ask them to seek professional help. Try to convince them to see a mental health professional or a physician. Most people on the brink of committing suicide usually believe they can no longer be helped. If they agree to see a professional, you should offer to go with them.

Suicide prevention requires YOU TO ACT! From the moment you know about intended suicide, you should stay as close as possible to the person and never leave them alone. Keep away all drugs, firearms, sharp objects and any other object that could be used for suicide. You should also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Alternatively, just call 911.

suicide prevention

Suicide prevention requires you to follow up on the person’s progress! Where medication is prescribed, you should help them take it as prescribed. Keep in touch with the doctor and updates regarding the person’s progress. Your continued encouragements and support will be needed for the entire process of suicide prevention.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention

suicide in America

Military Suicide In America

The problem of suicide in America, especially among veterans, is real concern today. On the average, the United States loses one veteran to suicide each 65 minutes or 22 veterans per day, according to a study by the VA. Unfortunately, these estimates are likely low, as they only include information from the 21 states willing to share their statistics and data collected between 1999 and 2011.

Soldiers are exposed to the horrors of war. They may have seen a best friend die in a battle or a child, native to the country where the war is occurring killed by a land mine. When they return home, they often come with a vacant stare in their eyes. If called back, some choose to go AWOL and receive less than honorable discharges. As the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder grows, they lose hope and see no way out of the condition, becoming another statistic of suicide in America. Some of these soldiers are not a part of the VA system and their death may not be reported.

suicide in america

Military Suicide In America

The mental stress of veterans with untreated disorders has caused many to become homeless. They may be involved in illicit drug use or alcoholism, as they try to numb the pain of war. If they die in this state, there may be no one to attest that the individual served in the war effort. Others may not be counted in the statistics concerning suicide in America as families may place pressure on coroners to not list their death as suicide due to the stigma of mental illness. Vets who die of overdoses or crash cars without a note may not be included in the suicide statistics either.

For many of these soldiers who honorably serve their country, the mental cost is too high. They come home and like Macbeth, feel they cannot wash the blood off their hands. The guilt of war may plague them for the rest of their lives. Night terrors make the problem even worse, as the vet is unable to find relief, even in sleep. For many, suicide in America seems the only out.

The problem is not just with veterans. In 2012, the number of active duty soldiers who committed suicide outnumbered those killed in battle. While they may not have committed suicide in America, their death, in their place of service should be added to the cost of war.

These stories of suicide in America come from an all volunteer militia. For many of these men and women, joining the particular branch of the military had been a life long dream. From their earliest memory, this has been their plan. Some join as soon as they reach age 17 and head to boot camp directly out of high school. Yet, somewhere in the time they are on active duty, these men and women with the most honorable of plans begin to develop problems. Either while on active duty or in the years that follow their discharge, they become another statistic for suicide in America.

Military psychiatrists have who have worked with soldiers and studied the problem attribute the rise in suicidal thoughts to moral injuries. They use this term to describe what happens when something is done to the soldier or the soldier must do something to another which breaks their moral certainty or their understanding of right and wrong. This damage is not attributed to fear of the task that is a natural part of serving, but to feelings of shame. The most likely cause of this feeling is the loss of the life of one of their own people. Friendly fire or the loss of life of women and children can make the symptoms even worse.

Unfortunately, it is not just the soldier who is affected. When he chooses to take his life, it affects the parents, spouse and children. The loss of life at one’s own hand may have the greatest long term effects on the offspring who are least prepared to deal with the cost of war.

Currently, both the VA and the Pentagon are looking at the problem of suicide in America that affects the troops. However, they certainly do not have all the answers. Some of the psychiatric medications often used have a side effect of increasing suicidal thoughts. The problem is likely to continue at least a decade after the troops return home. These soldiers need help and support of the military, government and family if they are to survive the damage they suffered to keep their nation safe. Stop suicide in America and get involved!

Military Suicide In America

Military Suicide In America