Youth and elderly suicides are on the increase in the US.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the US with 44,193 deaths recorded in 2015. This approximates to around one death every twelve minutes. There are more suicides than homicides each year in the US.
Today, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 10-24 and 25-34 year olds and 10-14 year olds are the fastest growing segment.
Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides. Hanging account for almost 27%, while poisoning ranks 3rd at 15%. 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.
Males die by suicide 3.5x more often than females.
White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2015.
Many suicide attempts go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.
Females attempt suicide three times more often than males. While males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide. The ratio of suicide attempts to suicide death in youth is estimated to be about 25:1, compared to about 4:1 in the elderly.
Like most diseases of the body, mental illness has many causes. Just as with most diseases, mental illnesses are no ones fault. 75% of them occur before the age of 24 and 50% before 14. Most importantly, mental illnesses are treatable through medication and psychosocial therapies allowing those who live with them the opportunity to lead full and productive lives.
How to Help Someone
If someone is feeling depressed or suicidal, the 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 or text 741741
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 explore these options. For example, ask them what else they could do to change their situation.
Offer to investigate counseling 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.
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 clergy person, a guidance counselor or a teacher.
Suicide is preventable. The first thing to do is recognize the signs in yourself or someone you know. The most common signs, according to Berman, include:
800-273-8255 or Text 741741 first