Sunday, November 8, 2015


Suicide seems unthinkable. But it is quite the opposite. Read the statistics above. Clearly many people think about it. These statistics only reflect those who have acted. It does not capture the torment of many that consider suicide and never act on it.

We tell the person "get help." Help usually means a therapist or a counselor. Someone you pay to help you with your emotional health. And I am a HUGE supporter of therapy - frankly everyone should have a trusted counselor on stand by. The 90% referenced above with a diagnosable psychiatric illness certainly needed professional help. I would propose that we as a society need to collectively help with embracing mental illness by showing compassion, empathy and kindness for the tortured person and for the family and friends walking life beside them. Mentally ill persons are talented and funny and thoughtful and flawed - just like those not suffering from mental illness. The mental ill are human beings with many dimensions on an infinite spectrum. We are all complicated. We all have our demons.

I also want to discuss another aspect suicide. Recently a man was senselessly murdered in Dallas. The wife he left behind committed suicide shortly thereafter. A column was then written in the Dallas Morning News describing her as selfish. I was angry reading this opinion and will not comment any further. Was she mentally ill? Or was she heart broken? Or some descriptor in between?

Our emotional well being does not fit into a simple state. The statistic (1) below references 8 million people who have had serious thoughts of suicide. And what about the people who think of suicide but are "not serious"? How many more millions would we add to that number? What word do we have for them?

And then the next scary statistic (2) below is that suicide rates are not going down. Personally I ask myself with so many drugs available to help people with their mental challenges, why are these numbers increasing? With so many trained professional available, how can this number get bigger?

I have way more questions and almost no answers. I think what happens inside our heads is not what appears on the outside - frequently - mentally ill or not. And I am stating that as a human condition. Right now I would like to reach for more understanding on every level of this topic. And I wonder out loud if we need sociologists to look into this situation just as much as psychiatrists.

"Also worth noting this week was the release of a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), based upon a survey of 46,190 American adults (18 and older). It found that 3.7 percent of the adult population had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year (or 8.3 million adults). Not surprisingly, the survey found that young adults (ages 18-25) have the most thoughts of suicide, made the most plans for suicide and to have attempted suicide, compared to older adults."
Reference 2006 - Click Here

"From 1986 to 2000, suicide rates in the U.S. dropped from 12.5 to 10.4 suicide deaths per 100,000 people in the population. Over the next 12 years, however, the rate generally increased and by 2013 stood at 12.6 deaths per 100,000"
Reference AFSP - Click Here

1 comment:

  1. Thank you. Well-done. Keep the conversation going. It's prickly, silenced until near-tragedy or tragedy strikes, and completely misunderstood in many instances. --S.C.