Recently, in the news, we heard about Jacintha Saldanha who committed suicide after being part of a hoax and about an NFL player who turned the gun on himself after killing his girlfriend. These are just two stories that have recently made the news.
- In 2010, it was estimated that every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide and nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year. Ref1
- In June of 2012, it was reported that the suicide rate in the military was the highest level in ten years. Ref2
- Suicide has surpassed car accidents as the No. 1 cause of injury-related death in the United States, according to research in 2010. Ref3
These statistics raise the question: Is enough being done to prevent suicide? I have to wonder as the story of the death of NFL player, Jovan Belcher, became a political talk about gun control.
Part of the blame is possibly on our government or hard times. However, in this case, it was clearly the media that turned an opportunity of raising awareness about suicide into something else.
Update: On December 14th, Adam Lanza killed 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary before turning the gun on himself. Dr. Hisham Hafez, executive director of the Greater Nashua Mental Health Center in NH says, “The question is really how to create public policy that helps people get the care they need, including their ability to be able to function in society and living within societal norms” and “In this society, we’re not preventative,” he said. “Most of our health care system is built on you have to be ill before you can be treated. The key thing for recovery is not just giving you care. What’s missing in health care is the personal relationships.” Ref5
WHAT IS BEING DONE?
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
- Putting a Face on Suicide (Page on Facebook)
- World Health Organization: How can suicide be prevented?
- Navy is Putting High Priority on Preventing Suicide
- Facebook commits to creating more suicide prevention tools
- Tweets from Lifeline
- How Schools Can Prevent Suicide
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
“Suicide. We would rather not talk about it. We hope it will never happen to anyone we know. But suicide is a reality, and it is more common than you might think. The possibility that suicide could claim the life of someone you love cannot be ignored. By paying attention to warning signs and talking about the “unthinkable,” you may be able to prevent a death.” Ref4
If you know someone who is struggling with depression or has told you they have been thinking about suicide, act now!
Articles that can help you:
- What to do when someone is suicidal: When someone you know appears suicidal, you might not know what to do. Learn warning signs, what questions to ask and how to get help.
- What can I do to help someone who may be suicidal?
- How to Prevent a Suicide
- Pinterest Board on Suicide
Also, you can write to politicians, athletes, actors/actresses, musicians, singers, and the media asking them to help raise awareness of suicide. Unfortunately, there is still a stigma with mental illness and suicide. People don’t want to talk about either, but they need to now more than ever!