September is National Awareness Month
by Mazie Leftwich, PsyD, LCSW Emeritus
It can be frightening if someone you love talks about suicide. It can be even more frightening if you find yourself thinking about dying or giving up on life. Not taking these kinds of thoughts seriously can have devastating outcomes, as suicide is most often a permanent solution to temporary problems.
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of deaths for youth, 10 years of age to 34
- Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 44.
Suicide was the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States, claiming the lives of over 47,500 people (Source: CDC 2012 pre-Covid).
- There were nearly two and a half times as many suicides (47,511) in the United States as there were homicides (19,141).
SUICIDAL THOUGHTS: Comments or thoughts about suicide — also known as suicidal ideation — can begin small like, “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing matters.” But over time, they can become more explicit and dangerous, with a depressed individual developing a plan as to how to end their life.
THE WARNING SIGNS
- Wanting to die
- Great guilt or shame
- Being a burden to others
- Empty, hopeless, trapped, or having no reason to live
- Extremely sad, more anxious, agitated, or full of rage
- Unbearable emotional or physical pain
- Making a plan or researching ways to die
- Withdrawing from friends, saying good bye, giving away important items, or making a will
- Taking dangerous risks such as driving extremely fast
- Displaying extreme mood swings
- Eating or sleeping more or less
- Using drugs or alcohol more often
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible, particularly if the behavior is new or has increased recently.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline