National Suicide Prevention Week: Get The Conversation Going

National Suicide Prevention Week is this week — September 7 to September 13 — and with that realization comes the need to raise awareness about how devastating and widespread suicide is, particularly among 15 to 29-year-olds.

According to the World Health Organization, suicide is the second leading cause of death globally for people aged 15 to 29 in 2012. That means, from a global perspective, suicide was the 15th leading cause of death overall that year. Interestingly, 93 percent of people would do something to help if someone close to them was contemplating suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

CBSDFW reports that the Deputy Director of VA Suicide Prevention in Texas, Dr. Caitlin Thompson, helped establish a program to allow veterans, who have long been considered a group in crisis, access to crisis care should they contemplate suicide.

“The Power of 1 is the Veterans Crisis Line new campaign this year and it really speaks to the fact that just one act and one small thing can really change a veteran’s life,” she said. “It could be one conversation, one call to the crisis line, [or] one chat.”

In Texas, 200 of 254 counties have met the requirement of lacking enough psychiatric care, which means there are many who might be lacking the counselling they need in order to prevent suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death for adults in the United States, but suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens. Association of Texas Professional Educators executive director Gary Godsey said teachers should be alerted to possible warning signs of suicide in order to potentially prevent it in their teen students.

“Many times suicide victims show signs leading up to suicide,” Godsey noted. “In fact, four out of five demonstrate some kind of signs had people known those signs were there. Since they [students] spend so many hours a day in the school perhaps they [educators] could have headed that off.”

The World Health Organization notes that, based on 2012 statistics, 75 percent of all suicides occurred in low and middle-income families, which puts these groups particularly at risk for suicide. Yahoo News also reports that, based on a large study involving 2,811 patients living with depression, there are a variety of other behaviors that can be realized as symptoms of suicidal behaviour. According to Dr. Dina Popovic, psychiatrist at the Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, Spain, other risk factors for suicide include but may not be limited to risky behavior, agitated behavior, impulsivity, and the presence of “depressive mixed states” that include symptoms of mania and depression.

What is clear is that people are becoming more educated about symptoms of suicide and risk factors involved. If there is someone in your life struggling with thoughts of suicide, visit suicide.org for a list of potential resources.

[Photo courtesy of YouTube]