Suicide is no stranger to our family. Both a nephew and a nephew-in-law took their own lives at relatively young ages. Then a few years ago my husband’s brother used a gun to end his own life. And even though my son’s death was termed an accidental overdose, in Tim’s own words he was “killing himself one day at a time.”
When a celebrity such as Robin Williams, Kate Spade, or Anthony Bourdain dies by suicide, it brings the tragedy to the forefront of our collective consciousness. But when someone close to you has taken his or her own life, that becomes very much a part of your own life. And sadly, suicide is no longer a rare occurrence.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. The 2017 figures show that over 47,000 Americans took their own lives. That same year close to a million and a half people attempted suicide.
There are many reasons why people take their own lives: depression, mental illness, loss, chronic pain, social isolation, to name a few. And many veterans– suffering from PTSD combined with inadequate (or sometimes non-existent) counseling help– are killing themselves in record numbers, sometimes on the properties of Veterans Administration agencies. I’ve included a link below to a story on that.
The warning signs of someone considering suicide are varied as well. Be sure to check out the comprehensive list on the link below.
I recall when I was trained as a Stephen Minister at my church that a suicide threat was one of the few occurrences that called for us to break our confidentiality agreement with the care receiver.
I’ve mentioned previously that often I don’t know what I’m going to write about until the day a post is due. An article in a magazine at a doctor’s office prompted today’s blog. I’ll tell you more about that in Saturday’s post; this is part one of two about suicide.
PLEASE…if you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). This is free, confidential support that’s available 24/7/365.