The issue of suicide is a very difficult and concerning topic to address – and, unfortunately, it is on the rise. In fact, a recent survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows suicide rates increasing by 25 percent over nearly two decades through the end of 2016. Data from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention further underscores the importance and urgency of raising awareness of suicide, as suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. – with nearly 45,000 Americans taking their own lives each year.
Recent suicide deaths of prominent fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrated chef and author Anthony Bourdain have exposed the critical fact that suicide does not discriminate and shined a brighter light on the role that mental illness plays in suicide. Approximately 90 percent of individuals who die from suicide suffer or have suffered from some form of mental illness.
Given this, it is critically important to be proactive about recognizing the warning signs of someone who may be contemplating suicide and identifying friends and loved ones who may be at risk. According to the National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI), the most recognizable signs of potential suicide are:
While risk factors can vary, there are some commonalities among suicide victims, including:
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, any other form of mental illness or any of these signs and risk factors, it’s okay to seek help. There are behavioral health providers who can help whenever you need them. And the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, offers free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Conemaugh Counseling Associates can also be reached by calling (814) 534-1095.