Every 40 seconds somewhere around the world someone dies by suicide, that’s 99 people every 66 minutes. Alcohol makes people more prone to committing suicide by violent methods like hanging, using a firearm or by falling to death, says a new study. Nearly, one-fourth of all suicide cases studied reported that the victim had blood alcohol levels of at least 0.08 g/dL. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, and the fourth leading cause of death among 25 to 44-year-olds in the United States. Only 20 percent of the population is over 60, but 40 percent of suicide victims come from this age group. After age 75, the rate is three times higher than average, and among white men over 80, it is six times higher than average. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 1 percent of all deaths. More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer. On average, there is one death from suicide every 85 minutes across the UK and Ireland. In 2009 there were over 6,200 deaths by suicide across the UK and Republic of Ireland. 18 American veterans kill themselves a day. 1,000 former soldiers receiving care from the Department of Veterans Affairs attempt suicide every month. More Veterans are completing suicide than are dying in combat overseas. In 2005, over 6,200 veterans completed suicide-120 per week. 70% of people who die by suicide tell someone about it in advance, and most are not in treatment Suicide hurts all of us—parents, children, siblings, friends, lovers and spouses. The loss for society is psychological, spiritual, and financial. Understanding suicide requires looking at all of the factors that underlie this complex and intensely emotional issue and applying logic and reason, even in the face of sadness and despair. A study of people who nearly died in a suicide attempt were asked: “How much time passed between the time you decided to complete suicide and when you actually attempted suicide?” (Simon 2001) 24% said less than five minutes Another 47% said an hour or less Although some people who die by suicide plan their act carefully, many don’t. In fact, many take their lives within 24 hours of a crisis—like an argument with a family member or a relationship break-up.
Know What to DoStigma associated with mental illnesses can prevent people from getting help. Your willingness to talk about mental or emotional issues and suicide with a friend, family member, or co-worker can be the first step in getting them help and preventing suicide.
If You See the Warning Signs of Suicide…Begin a dialogue by asking questions. Suicidal thoughts are common with some mental illnesses and your willingness to talk about it in a non-judgmental, non-confrontational way can be the help a person needs to seeking professional help. Questions okay to ask: “Do you ever feel so badly that you think about suicide?” “Do you have a plan to commit suicide or take your life?” “Have you thought about when you would do it (today, tomorrow, next week)?” “Have you thought about what method you would use?” Asking these questions will help you to determine if your friend or family members is in immediate danger, and get help if needed. A suicidal person should see a doctor or mental health professional immediately. Remember, always take thoughts of or plans for suicide seriously. Never keep a plan for suicide a secret. Don’t worry about risking a friendship if you truly feel a life is in danger. You have bigger things to worry about-someone’s life might be in danger! It is better to lose a relationship from violating a confidence than it is to go to a funeral. And most of the time they will come back and thank you for saving their life. Don’t try to minimise problems or shame a person into changing their mind. Your opinion of a person’s situation is irrelevant. Trying to convince a person suffering with a mental illness that it’s not that bad, or that they have everything to live for may only increase their feelings of guilt and hopelessness. Reassure them that help is available, that what they are experiencing is treatable, and that suicidal feelings are temporary. Life can get better! If you feel the person isn’t in immediate danger, acknowledge the pain is legitimate and offer to work together to get help. Make sure you follow through. This is one instance where you must be tenacious in your follow-up. Help find a doctor or a mental health professional, participate in making the first phone call, or go along to the first appointment. If you’re in a position to help, don’t assume that your persistence is unwanted or intrusive. Risking your feelings to help save a life is a risk worth taking. (Save.org)
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