by Lucas Myers
The week starting September 8th is National Suicide Prevention Week. Did you know we are losing 34,000 Americans every year to suicide? 5,000 of these are teenagers. For every one completed suicide there are 100-200 attempts. If you do the math, that’s 5000 x 100 or 200 = between 500,000 and a million suicide attempts every year by people between 14 and 24 years of age. That’s a big, big, deal especially because we have learned that if someone has attempted suicide once, they are at a much higher risk to attempt it again.
Did you know that suicide is rising faster in youth between 10 and 14 than in any other age group? What grade are you in when you’re 10 years old? 5th right? Some of us probably have family, friends, or neighbors that age. Did you know that suicide is the #2 cause of death for college aged Americans? Right here in San Diego, on average, we lose one teen between 15 and 19 years old to suicide every month. We’re losing children, friends, nieces, nephews, cousins, brothers and sisters to suicide every day, and sometime in your life suicide may affect you or someone you know.
There is a myth about suicide that if you talk about it someone will attempt it. Does that make sense to you?
Of course not.
People that attempt suicide are in pain. They feel alone and they feel that they have no other way out. They need to talk! Some people think that when someone decides to attempt suicide there is nothing you can do to stop them. Well everyone has good days and bad days right? Suicidal feelings are usually temporary, but suicide is permanent. These people have usually had a lot of bad days in a row, and that is called depression, and they need help. As much as 90% of suicides are the result of an undiagnosed mental illness, mostly depression. That is awesome news, because although we can’t see depression, , we can treat it. Suicide can be prevented. Depression treatment has a very high success rate. Medication can be helpful and therapy can teach those suffering from depression methods for getting healthy and feeling good. I’ll tell you more about that later. For now, I want you to remember that you may not be able to help getting depressed, but you can help yourself get help.
If you are concerned that you or someone you know might be thinking about suicide get help! In an emergency, call 911. For information and support there are two numbers that you can use to get help. These numbers are both nation-wide and toll free 24-7. 1-888-724-7240 is a local San Diego crisis line. The other number is a national number you can use if the crisis is out of the area, that is 1-800-273-TALK.
Over the next few weeks, this blog will be sharing a story about the author's personal encounter with suicide and sharing tips for how to recognize and prevent suicidal behavior. The first step toward preventing suicide is to start conversations and take away the stigma that isolates people with suicidal thoughts. Please check back to learn more and share these blogs with the people you care about.
If you are suffering from anxiety or depression, don't wait until it becomes a crisis.
If you would like to speak with a professional at The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management, you may contact us at 858-354-4077 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To see a list of other mental health conditions that we specialize in, click here.
If you are interested in spreading awareness on how to prevent suicide in San Diego you can learn more from Yellow Ribbon of San Diego.
American Association of Suicidology from:
San Diego Unified School District Youth Risk Behavior Survey from:
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention from:
County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency, Emergency Medical Services, Medical Examiner database, 2001-2010.
San Diego Community Health Statistics Suicide Report 2011