It’s hard to find a family that hasn’t been affected by suicide. Suicide is the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States. You hear about it on the news, or from a friend or co-worker who’s dealing with the pain of losing a loved one.
Personally and Professionally
As a therapist I’m trained to help clients begin to grieve the devastating effects of death and the loss that accompanies it. It’s difficult under normal circumstances to grieve a loss. Helping clients to heal after losing someone to suicide is critical and admittedly heart wrenching.
Sadly, I personally have been directly affected by suicide. A few years ago, my father-in-law took his life, he was one week away from celebrating his 80th birthday. The initial shock and sadness soon turned to anger. There are questions left unanswered and words left unsaid. The range of emotion is brutal. Losing a loved one to suicide can leave you broken. I understand.
Suicide rates have risen year over year since 2000. Basically 16 out of every 100,000 Americans will take their own life. It isn’t gender or age specific; boy or girl, man or woman the young and the old are taking their own life. Alarming.
In young people age 10-34 years old, suicide is the second leading cause of death, and in most cases the act is purely impulsive. Warning signs (both young and old):
- change in eating or sleeping habits
- frequent or pervasive sadness
- withdrawal from friends, family and regular activities
- emotional symptoms: stomachaches, headaches, fatigue, etc.
- for kids: declining grades at school
- for adults: calling in sick often, or not working
- preoccupied with death and dying
One common myth to dispel is there’s a link between suicide and mental illness. The CDC found 54% of Americans who died by suicide had no known mental health illness.
Here are some of the most “common issues” that can lead to suicidal thoughts or suicide in adults:
- relationship issues
- financial troubles
- economic conditions
- deteriorating health
- drug and alcohol abuse
One Life to Live
Everyone is susceptible to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
Life is made up of highs and lows, ups and downs and at times it tests our resolve. But tomorrow’s a new day, and next week can look completely different than this one! We all have purpose; we need to acknowledge it by understanding our gifts!
Change your thoughts and you change your world.-Norman Vincent Peale
Resources for Help
Whether you’re an adult or child and you’re having suicidal thoughts, talking to someone is key. If there isn’t a family member or friend you feel comfortable confiding in, here are the numbers you can call for help.
Do you feel it’s an emergency? Call 911
US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255
Kids Help Phone 1-800-668-6868