Over 23,000 people commit suicide in the United States every year. (Suicide Facts) Among these people are the young and the old, the sick, and the well. There is not just one type of person that will do such a thing, but all people. To help prevent suicide education and easy access to information is key. In order to even start to prevent suicide one must know the statistics, causes- such as depression, alcohol ,and the availability of fire arms- warning signals, and how to help and cope when someone you know is contemplating suicide. Prevention of this horrible crisis is possible.
Due to the stigma associated with suicide, available statistics may well underestimate the problem. Nevertheless, these figures do underscore the urgent need to seek a solution to the suicide epidemic among people. (San Pedro) Suicide accounts for 1. 4% of all deaths, and is the ninth leading cause of death in the United States. To get a picture of how many people this truly is just think of this. A person commits suicide every fifteen minutes, and an attempt is made about once every minute. (Suicide Facts) Both adults and youth are part of the attempts and sad successes.
Often suicide is thought of as a young crisis, but uicide is very prominent in the adult community as well. Suicide rates for men peak after the age of 65. Women have a double peak in their suicide rate, once between the ages of 40-54 years old, and then again after the age of 75. The highest suicide rates are found among white males over the age of 50, which represents 10% of the American population, and 33% of all suicides. After a steady decrease from 1950- 1980 in the suicide rate of those over 65, suicide in that age group is again on the rise. (Suicide Facts) Adolescent suicide is also on the rise.
The suicide rate for white males ages 15-24 has tripled ince 1950, and the suicide rate for white females has more than doubled. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, the 3rd leading cause of death among those 15-24, and fourth leading cause among children 10-14 years old. In the past fifteen years the suicide rates for young black males has risen by more than two-thirds. The suicide rate for children 10-14 has more than doubled. Another eye opening statistic is that teenage males commit suicide more than females by a 5:1 ratio.
A statistic that truly shows that prevention is necessary is that 26-33% of eenage suicide victims have made previous suicide attempts. (Suicide facts) In order to prevent this, one must know what would convince a person to take their own life. There is not one main reason people take their lives. They take it for many different reasons. Some are more easily detected than others. Blocked communication is a problem seen as a factor in suicide. Many suicide victims feel they can not talk to anyone about their problems, or have no one to comfort or advise them.
Also many individuals feel they can not show their anger or pain. They keep their emotions inside and the strength of these motions gets built up. These individuals may have been seen as the perfect ones. They cut off their needs, emotions and also personalities, thus cutting off their life physiologically so death itself isnt as scary as it may be to others. Loss is a major factor in suicides. Whenever one feels a loss it often leaves them feeling empty and lonely. Loss ranges from maybe parents going back to work full time, to divorce, to even a death of a friend or relative.
When people are put up on a pedestal by family, friends, and even society they often have trouble coping and dont think that they can live up to others expectations. They feel insecure and often alone. They often think their only escape is suicide. (Leder) Over 60% of all people who commit suicide suffer from major depression. Fifteen percent of the United States population will suffer from clinical depression sometime in their lifetime, and 30% of them will attempt suicide, and half will succeed. Alcoholism is another major factor in suicide.
In 30% of suicides alcoholism is a factor. Ninety-six percent of alcoholics will continue their substance abuse until they commit suicide. Of all the victims of suicide 60% of them will do so with a firearm. Eighty-three percent of all gun related deaths in homes in the United States are suicides, and often by someone other than the gun owner. (Suicide Facts) Knowing issues that might cause someone to contemplate suicide is just one of the steps in identifying warning signs. There are eight general warning signs that reflect where trouble may be beginning in suicidal victims.
A previous suicide attempt is a definite indication that something is wrong and could happen again. When one begins to concentrate on thoughts of death, or begins to talk of suicide, you may want to make sure to keep a watch on that person. A drastic change in personality or mood could be a sign of intense emotional pain. This is not always easy to detect in teens as much because they are involved in such an intense emotional change as it is. People contemplating suicide sometimes have a major change in eating and sleeping patterns.
Maybe someone who usually stays up late may start sleeping often or someone else doesnt seem to be eating much. Many suicidal people withdraw themselves from friendships and activities. This may show that they feel they no longer have the energy or the desire to participate. Suicide victims are often known for taking unusual risks efore attempting suicide. This signals that he or she holds little regard for life. Substance abuse by suicidal victims is often a last attempt to feel good or different. And finally final arrangements are made.
The giving away of prized possessions, making a will, making peace with friends are all sure signs that someone is planning to end their life. (Handwerk) After detecting a friend or relative in trouble helping them is imperative. When someone is suicidal they often just need someone to listen to them. Being a good listener doesnt mean trying to solve the persons problem or making them get rid of heir bad feelings. The listener shouldnt make the person feel guilty, or that they are their own problem, or tell them what to do.
You must show you are listening by eye contact, body language, and not pulling away. A good way to help is by mirroring your friends feeling, by restating what they say to you in order for them to clarify. When a friend wont talk to you about what is going on, try to use their body language to make a guess on what they are thinking. An example of this is when someone is grinding their teeth, you may suggest you seem angry.. Try not to ask questions that ave yes or no answers or that may cause the person to become defensive.
Try to ask open ended question that start with such words as where, when, who, what, which or how. Once youve taken into consideration your friends nonverbal messages and have a few good questions answered, try exploring ways of solving your friends problem. If you believe the situation is more than you can handle then suggest they talk to someone else who can help them more. (Leder) After youve made headway with helping your friend make sure that you dont give up on them, and make sure they get help. Without the proper help they need it may e easy for them to relapse without you even noticing.
Its always good to know you have a friend! Prevention of suicide starts with us, the friends and families of these victims. You must encourage these suicidal people to talk about their problems and get help. Prevention should also include social policy that limits access to firearms, alcohol, as well as responsible portrayal and coverage of suicide in the media. (Suicide Facts. ) If only other suicide victims had had someone to talk to, someone to be their friend, then maybe the thousands that have died would still be alive today.