Suicide. Sometimes that word alone is enough to provoke a sea of emotions in many of us. Most of us have experienced the sting of suicide either in our personal lives or through the lives of others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide by suffocation occurs in about 9,913 cases in the U.S. About 19,990 suicides occur at the hands of a firearm and 6,564 suicides occur by poisoning. In 2011, about 39,518 suicides were reported by the CDC, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death. That’s way too many lives being lost to suicide. What are we missing?
Well…some people might say that we are neglecting the fact that suicide is perceived by the hurting as a remedy for their hurting soul. Despite the wealth, fame, attention, talent, or career they might have, the hurting person is attempting to escape an ever gnawing pain. The pain, often too much to bear, doesn’t always respond to medication, therapy, or years of success. In fact, nothing seems to ease the constant pain but death. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention reports that the most frequent risk factors for suicide include but are not limited to:
- Substance Abuse/Dependency
- Psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia
- Personality Disorders such as borderline personality disorder
- Conduct disorder
- Anxiety Disorders
- Impulsivity and Aggression
Suicide is a major public health concern. Even a family with their eyes wide open can miss signs of a hurting loved one. But this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t look for signs. Ms. Penny Knapp, a mother from Canada and a kind Twitter friend of mine, shared her story with me during an interview about suicide in 2013. She was brave enough to discuss the loss of her 20-year-old son. Since the death of her son, she has partnered with people around her to create an organization that can not only help others in crisis, but remember her beloved son Nicholas (top left photos).
To read more about Penny’s story, visit my sister-site: blogs.psychcentral.com/caregivers.