Suicide is a terrible but preventable loss of life which also produces lifelong effects in the victim’s family and friends. Almost 1% of the US population will die from suicide with men out numbering women. It is estimated that 12-15 suicide attempts occur for every death. Young people 15-24 are especially vulnerable, where it is the third leading cause of death. Another group of people at high risk for suicide are those over 45 (especially men) who are widowed or divorced with recent medical problems.
Research has shown that psychiatric illness is present in most suicide deaths and that half suffer from depression. Drug abuse and alcoholism are present in almost half of suicides, as is seen in the famous suicide deaths (River Phoenix, Marilyn Monroe).
People with suicidal thoughts or impulses may communicate these feelings to others. In addition, changes in sleep, weight loss, and increase in drug and alcohol use. It is common for people with suicidal thoughts to have recently seen their physician.
Guns are the most common methods of suicide because they are available and immediate in their effect. In states in which guns are more available, suicide is more common. Drug overdoses are the second more frequent cause of suicide, but they are much slower and allow the victim to reconsider their action.
Two thirds of suicidal persons communicate their feelings to others and because of this there are opportunities for friends or family to intervene. Suicidal statements should always be taken seriously and professional help sought.
Suicide treatment includes diagnosis of psychiatric or medical problems, as well as attempting to understand suicide as a response to stress or other problems. Family support and psychiatric treatment greatly reduces suicide. Guns and other means of suicide (bottles of dangerous pills) should be secured. The presence of a gun in the household triples the risk of suicide. It is helpful for those feeling suicidal urges to talk to family or supportive friends.
Crisis call and suicide lines are available. Call Rolling Hills Hospital at 615-807-4059 for more information.