the Risk for Suicide ~
The numbers of people choosing to take their
own lives is increasing. By some estimates a person tries to take their life every 39 seconds. Suicide
is not limited to a single age group, racial group, or socioeconomic class.
Currently, among the 15- to 19-year olds, suicide
is the second leading cause of death (following accidents). The suicide rate has tripled over
the last 30 years in this age group. The elderly (often following the death
of their spouse, or favorite pet) are another large group very much at
There are conflicting reports as to whether the
suicide rate increases during the holiday, or afterwards. Whether or not there is an increased
incidence of suicide, we know there is an increased incidence of depression,
mental health visits and the blues, both during the holiday and up to three
weeks after the holidays.
The evidence is overwhelming, those who talk about
suicide may truly be considering it. Anyone having suicidal thoughts should
seek immediate care, either through their own doctor or through the nearest hospital emergency department.
Take it seriously! Seek Professional advice immediately. Talk to a Counselor,
a Teacher, a Physician.
The important part is for those suffering from
depression, friends and family to be able to recognize the warning signs and get help, or help the person
exhibiting the signs to get help!
Suicide Warning Signs
Learn to Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Talk of death, suicide, or harming oneself
Chronic panic or anxiety
Altered personality or appearance
Changes in sleeping or eating habits
Dropping grades (for those still in school)
Giving away treasured possessions
Becoming more isolated - pulling away from normal
Talk of depression, life is not worth living
Do you, or anyone you know have any of the following
By educating the general public to recognize the
signs and symptoms of depression, and warning signs of suicide, then those afflicted with depression,
those contemplating suicide may be able to get professional help and treatment
sooner. The depressed will be able to start working to shift their views
and realize that there are things worth living for, so instead of wanting
to choose death they want to choose life.
Loss of interest in formerly pleasurable activities
Dissatisfaction with life
Withdrawal from social activities
Loss of energy
Feeling useless or hopeless
Great concern with health problems
Sadness or crying
Worry and/or self-criticism
Difficulty concentrating and/or making decisions
Loss of appetite and weight
Listening to the "Cry for Help"
Believe that life
is worth living
There have been several instances when I thought
friends or colleagues were in trouble where what they were telling me sounded like a strong "Cry
for Help," whether a message on an answering machine, a comment made in passing, or a letter written out of depression
and sent. On these occasions I have made several frantic phone calls to try and find them, make
sure they were all right. I usually was not able to reach the person specifically, but contacted
someone who was also alerted and then able to get in touch with the person. Fortunately, in each of
these instances, the outcome has been a good one. Colleagues and friends asked me if I thought I was over reacting.
"Didn't I know they weren't going to really do themselves any harm?" I will continue to "over
react" rather than possibly let a friend down.
The stakes are too high to make that kind of mistake.
I have treated many overdose cases in the emergency department, and intensive care unit,
pumping stomachs after a drug overdose, treating with 17 doses of Tylenol antidote, or monitoring
for cardiac arrhythmias after barbiturate overdoses. I was left wondering
was their "Cry for help" noticed. Also you never know for sure what was
going through that person's head. You never know that you might be the
only person who hears their "Cry for Help." Perhaps the compassion, knowing
that someone cares is enough to convince them that live is worth living.
and your belief will
help create the fact.