What can you do on National Suicide Prevention Day?
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness month and September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day 2017. I thought it appropriate to write this blog since my husband Steve died 12 years ago by suicide on September 14th. You also may have lost a loved one to suicide. If so I am very sorry for your loss. If you follow me you know that my message is about processing your grief and learning to live and love life after loss. It’s one of transformation.
In 2005 when Steve died suicide awareness was not as it is today and I am grateful that it’s no longer considered taboo to talk about it. People don’t die by suicide because they are bad or evil. It wasn’t that long ago when that was a belief held by many. It’s certainly not for me but still may be for some. Thus the reason more education needs to be implemented in our society.
As a survivor I believe it’s particularly important for us to talk about how we have been affected by our tragedy. We need the support of each other. And the same is true for those who are contemplating suicide. They also need to hear our story. I understand that mental illness often clouds logical thinking, but it’s important that our voices be heard. It’s possible your story or mine could save a life.
In the United States:
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death
- 144,193 Americans die by suicide each year
- 121 suicides happen each day
- Men are 3.5 times more likely than women to take their lives
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — for white men in particular
- Females attempt suicide three times more often than males
Worldwide facts related to suicide:
- Suicide is the 15th leading cause of death
- The suicide rate is 15/100,000 for males and 8/100,000 for females
- Out of the 61 WHO (World Health Organization) countries, suicide is still currently criminalized in 20 of them
- In an additional 20 suicide attempters may be punished with jail sentence according to Sharia Law.
Suicide is the result of a convergence of risk factors including but not limited to genetic, psychological, social and cultural risk factors, sometimes combined with experiences of trauma and loss. One sad story is Michelle Carter’s recent conviction.
Depression is the most common psychiatric disorder in people who die by suicide
50% of individuals in high-income countries who die by suicide have major depressive disorder at their time of death
60 people are affected by each suicide death
This equates to 48 million people bereaved by suicide worldwide every year
Relatives and close friends of people who die by suicide are a high-risk group for suicide, due to:
- The psychological trauma of a suicide loss
- Potential shared familial and environmental risk
- Suicide contagion through the process of social modeling, and the burden of stigma associated with this loss.
I find 48 million an unbelievably disturbing amount. It instills the fact that we need more community, love and compassion for one another.
Some effective Suicide Prevention Strategies:
- Treatment of Depression
- Ensure chain of care
- Universal School based prevention
There are limitations due to:
- Insufficient resources
- Ineffective coordination
- Limited access to surveillance data on suicide and self-harm
- Lack of enforced guidelines
- Lack of independent and systematic evaluation
What can you do?
You may ask what can you do to make any difference at all? On September 10th 2017 light a candle and put it near a widow to show your support. I do it in remembrance of Steve and for all those who are suffering in our world today. Another thing that you can do is to show an act of kindness to someone everyday. Either a stranger, close family member or acquaintance. If you see them in distress be compassionate and ask if they are ok. This often opens the door for others to confide in you or ask for help. Interaction is needed with others and that is a simple way to show you care.
Let’s all show love and compassion towards one another. It is the start of creating community.
In addition, we also need to listen to one another. In our busy worlds we often don’t take the time to do it. We can learn from those who have attempted suicide and we can learn from the bereaved that have lost loved ones. We need to start talking and listening to one another again! This will create trust and empathy. It begins with you! Therefore, know you can make a difference.
Please remember to mark your calendar on September 10th for National Suicide Prevention Day and share this with all your friends!
Love and light,
Certified NLP(Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Practitioner
Certified Reiki Practitioner