More than 32,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. It is this country’s 11th leading cause of death, and is often characterized as a response to a single event or set of circumstances. It is actually a much more complicated problem than it is perceived with devastating results for the individuals that are left behind.
Indiana and Suicide
• Indiana has a population of approximately 6,302,646 with a suicide rate of 824 people a year or 13.1%. The national average is 11.2%. (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention). A person dies by suicide about every 16 minutes in the United States. An attempt is estimated to be made once every minute.
• Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
• There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide. There is a noted rise of newly completed suicides of “middle aged soccer moms”.
• Every day, approximately 90 Americans take their own life, and 2,300 more attempt to do so.
Alcohol and Suicide
• Ninety-six percent of alcoholics who die by suicide continue their substance abuse up to the end of their lives, possible as a method to get courage.
• Alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all completed suicides.
• Males are three to five times more likely to commit suicide than females.
• Elderly Caucasian males have the highest suicide rates.
A suicide crisis is a time-limited occurrence signaling immediate danger of suicide. Suicide risk, by contrast, is a broader term that includes the above factors such as age and sex, psychiatric diagnosis, past suicide attempts, and traits like impulsivity. The signs of crisis are:
• Precipitating Event
An recent event that is particularly distressing such as loss of loved one or career failure. Sometimes the individuals own behavior precipitates the event: for example, a man’s abusive behavior while drinking causes his wife to leave him.
• Intense Affective State in Addition to Depression
Desperation (anguish plus urgency regarding need for relief), rage, psychic pain or inner tension, anxiety, guilt, hopelessness, acute sense of abandonment.
Changes in Behavior
Speech suggesting the individual is close to suicide. Be alert to such statements as, “My family would be better off without me.” Sometimes those contemplating suicide talk as if they are saying goodbye. If they say they are going to do it, believe them.
Actions– ranging from buying a gun to suddenly putting one’s affairs in order. Explaining bank accounts and password access.Deterioration in functioning- at work or socially, increasing use of alcohol, other self-destructive behavior, loss of control, rage explosions.
If you or a loved one is in crisis:
If you have lost anyone to suicide, please seek help yourself – http://suicide.org/suicide-survivors.html Peace comrades.
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