Suicides surpass homicides in this country.. The United States is seriously struggling emotionally. The Centers for Disease Control reports that in the U.S. suicides were committed at an all-time high last year and for every suicide death, there are 25 more suicide attempts Nearly 1 in 5 adults have been professionally diagnosed with depression. Over 90 percent of persons who commit suicide have diagnosable, treatable psychiatric illness at the time of death which is why every September mental health organizations and individuals across the United States work to raise awareness of suicide prevention.
People of all genders, ages, ethnicities, and occupations can be at risk of suicide, but those with military service, LGBT+ youth, and victims of violence are all associated with a significantly increased risk for suicide. Suicide is preventable. Knowing the warning sign and knowing how to access helpful resources can save lives.
Abrupt, intense alterations in mood, or a rapid emotional relief after a long period of despair sometimes indicate that someone is contemplating ending their own life. Sudden, excessive drug or alcohol use, despair over a loss or the inability to overcome a trauma are suggestive of suicidal thoughts. Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, but especially expressing the idea of being a liability to loved ones are often strong predictors of suicidal behavior; such language should always be taken seriously.
Having attempted suicide in the past, giving away possessions or “saying goodbye” are also signs of potential suicidality that should be urgently addressed.
People who feel marginalized, either by age, financial insecurity, bullying, criminal or legal difficulties or discrimination are vulnerable to self-harm, but according to the Harvard School of Public Health, “Every study that has examined the issue to date has found that within the U.S., access to firearms is associated with increased suicide risk.” If you or someone you know is vulnerable to depression or thoughts of self-harm, your highest priority must be to remove the means. The chances of committing suicide are 140 times greater when a gun is used than for any other method.
If you are suicidal, know that despair is temporary. Experts emphasize that most suicide attempts are impulsive acts, and the overwhelming majority of those attempted acts are never repeated once the feelings fade, but a gun works so efficiently that there is no opportunity to reconsider your situation. Give any available weapon to someone you trust to store safely away for you.
Do not try to cope with your own or anyone else’s threatening thoughts or behavior on your own. People need professional help and support to defeat feelings about taking one’s life. Even if the immediate emergency lapses, make plans to consult with a doctor or other mental health professional. They will assist in getting you appropriate treatment to release the burdens you suffer. With their supervision effective coping and problem-solving skills can be mastered and used to remedy previous mistakes and manage ongoing difficulties. Powerful protective measures of self-preservation include recognizing your reasons for living, such as beloved family, friends, or pets. A strong sense of cultural identity is strength-hardening, as are community involvements such as church and other organizational memberships. Physical exercise and conversation with a specialized caregiver may be as helpful in lifting depression as prescription medication.
The first step to overcoming a sense of dread and loss of control is reaching out for comfort. Anyone can call or text 988 to reach the free and confidential Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, every single day in English or Spanish. (U.S. veterans or service members who are in crisis, press “1” for the Veterans Crisis Line, or text 838255.) GLBTQ+ community members and allies can text ‘START’ to 678-678 to speak with a Trevor counselor who is understanding of LGBTQ issues and won’t judge you. All messages are anonymous, and you can share as much or as little as feels comfortable