In the past few days there have been two high profile suicides. As I read about the second one, I wondered if we are seeing more suicides or if we are just more transparent. Transparency often helps people feel more connected, "Oh these feelings I have aren't me being 'bad' but normal feelings that can be worked through." I did some research and sadly found this article:
Suicide rates are up 30 percent since 1999, CDC says: Only half of people who died by suicide had diagnosed mental health conditions.
by Maggie Fox
Looking further, I found this is not only a national issue but international. From the Independent:
Teenage suicides in London rise by 107% - more than four times national rate, new figures reveal: Huge increase described as 'a needless waste of young lives'
May Bulman Social Affairs Correspondent
The CDC reports that nearly 50% of people who die by suicide have not been diagnosed with a mental health disorder. This may speak to the mental health stigma which is still alive and well but may also indicate that suicide could be an entity of itself. This make sense when put in the context of those who support assisted suicide or cultures in which there is honor in suicide in the face of dishonor.
Some say suicide is 100% preventable. I would argue that it is not. No issue is black and white. No illness is that simple. As mentioned above, there are cultural, societal, and medical considerations. I worry as well about the message this sends to family and friends who are dealing with a death by suicide. Time and again I hear the guilt and pain and anger in these people. To have the stress of hearing "100% preventable" could be more than a person can bear. Some people do not want to be stopped. Horrifying for me to write. Likely horrifying and maybe angering to read. These folks may not show any signs at all. They may have decided on their path and are determined that no one will prevent them from doing what they believe they need to do.
I believe the majority of people contemplating suicide or attempting suicide do want to be helped. Suicide happens when our level of pain exceeds our capacity to manage our pain. Simply put, there is no answer at that level. Emotions do ebb and flow and "this to shall pass" but in those moments when our pain is beyond that threshold, there may seem to be only one answer. It may take someone else to reach out through the cloud of pain and chaos to take their hand and lead them to another place. A place where the pain is eased enough to start dealing with it and everything that swirls around it.
There are a number of good resources out there (here's where you can Google away!).
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