With World Suicide Prevention Day happening September 10th, tomorrow, I have come across a number of blog posts and articles about suicide and mostly prevention. Today I read an article about how to reduce suicide risk. In the article there were numerous links to other articles which two of I found interesting or useful. The links to all articles are at the bottom of this post. (The link to the page for Wold Suicide Prevention day is http://www.iasp.info/wspd/ where you can find the banner I posted above, resources, facts, what can you do list, along with links to previous pages of the day in past years.)
Here are some quotes and statistics:
According to the American Association of Suicidology, suicide rates in the US increased in 2009 (the most recent year for which data is available), disrupting the recent trend of stable or decreasing suicide rates. The new annual suicide rate of 12.0 per 100,000 people translates into 100.8 suicides per day and 1 suicide every 14.3 minutes. This is in the US; the World suicide rate is 1 million people per year, which is about one death every 40 seconds.
There are a number of reasons why people might deny suicidal thoughts/planning:
• The impulsive person may lack extensive suicidal ideation before his or her attempt.
• The person has had marked suicidal ideation and is serious about completing the act but is purposely not relaying suicidal ideation or is withholding the method of choice because he/she does not want the attempt to be thwarted.
• The person feels that suicide is a sign of weakness and is ashamed to acknowledge it.
• The person feels that suicide is immoral or a sin.
• The person feels that discussion of suicide is, literally, taboo.
• The person is worried that people will perceive him/her as crazy.
• The person fears that he/she will be locked up if suicidal ideation is shared or, if during a crisis call, that the police will appear at his door.
• The person fears that others will find out about his/her suicidal thoughts through a break in confidentiality. Meaning I tell for example a friend or school counselor and they inform my parents.
• The person does not believe that anyone can help.
• The person has trouble describing emotional pain or material.
I know a number of these personally have prevented me from asking for help. And all these are good things to keep in mind when someone you know might begin to open up about suicidal thoughts, specifically things not to say.
It is not surprising that some seriously suicidal people may relay their actual intent in stages. Some people would share some information, see how the person responds, then share some more information, reevaluate “where is this going,” and so on. Indeed, people with serious suicidal intent who are trying to decide how much to reveal may share information about a mild overdose while consciously withholding their main method of choice (such as a gun, for they are well aware that once they share information about the gun it may be removed) until they arrive at a decision that they do not want to die. At this point, they may feel safe enough to share the full truth. This is reworded from one of the articles that talks about it directly as a patient talking to a medical professional, I changed the wording to include people in general as I think most people don’t start their search of help for suicidal thoughts/planning from a medical professional. I think a lot of people talk to someone else first: a friend, family member, maybe someone from church, a mentor or teacher, who knows… who hopefully urges them to talk to a professional and ideally helps point them in the right direction or goes through the steps with them. Also I know personally, I tend to take this approach. Whether it is discussing suicidality with my case manager, psychiatrist, ER people, inpatient staff, or friends I tell a little and re-evaluate and keep doing this same tell a little then re-evaluate until I stop (usually due to a reaction I don’t like) or honestly tell all of it.
The last little part is about Suicide notes which is a topic that has always intrigued me. It gives a reason why often times there is no note, probably around 25% of the time. The relative rarity of suicide notes reveals the state of mind of those about to die by suicide. To say that persons who die by suicide are lonely at the time of their deaths is a massive understatement. Loneliness, combined with alienation, isolation, rejection, and ostracism, is a better approximation. Still, it does not fully capture the suicidal person’s state of mind. In fact, I believe it is impossible to articulate the phenomenon, because it is so beyond ordinary experience. Notes are rare because most decedents feel alienated to the point that communication through a note seems pointless or does not occur to them at all.
Main Article: Resources help clinicians reduce suicide risk in patients
Linked articles off main article:
Suicide Assessment Part 1: Uncovering Suicidal Intent- A Sophisticated Act http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/display/article/10168/1491291
Understanding and Overcoming the Myths of Suicide http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/suicide/content/article/10168/1780274
And of course some resources to get help if you are feeling suicidal or in crisis:
1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-783-2433 (US) National Hopeline Network
1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255 (US) National Suicide Prevention Network
911- or go to a local Emergency room
and a website for other US resources including chat services, e-mail service, specific crisis (ex LGBT), religiously sponsored, etc… http://suicidehotlines.com/national.html
And a link to International Numbers http://suicidehotlines.com/international.html