“Because of the stigma of mental illness, people with mental illness tell people they are “fine” when many times they are not doing well at all.
More than any other illness, you are not allowed to speak the truth of how you are feeling when you have bipolar disorder, depression, chronic suicidality or any other type of mental illness.” ~Sue Walz
What do we know about suicide in the U.S.?
- A suicide attempt is made about once every 31 seconds, and a suicide is completed once every 13 minutes. That breaks down to about 2,818 attempts and 113 deaths in a single day.
- Each death by suicide affects 115 people. That’s 1 million new people affected every year.
- Suicide is the second leading cause for young people and the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. overall.
- The rate of suicide has been steadily increasing since 2000, and is at its highest rate since 1991.
- Suicide rates are highest for females aged 45-54 and males aged 75 and older.
- Men are 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women, but women attempt suicide 3 times more often than men.
- Caucasian men are the group most likely to die by suicide, followed by Native Americans.
- More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (7 million), cancer (6 million) and AIDS (200,000) combined.
Warning signs of suicide:
- Threatening suicide, an increased interest in death and dying, expressing a strong wish to die (always treat a suicide threat as a crisis).
- Observable signs of serious depression, including: unrelenting low mood; pessimism; hopelessness; desperation; anxiety, psychic pain, and inner tension; withdrawal; sleep problems (either too much or too little); abnormal food intake (either too much or too little); pronounced weight loss or gain.
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Behavior that is out of character, including impulsiveness or unnecessary risk-taking
- A sudden and unexpected change to a cheerful attitude (after a depression), especially when the person is on antidepressants
- Making a plan: making a will, giving away prized possessions, taking out insurance, saying goodbye, sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm, obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications
If you suspect a loved one is suicidal:
- Don’t be afraid to ask your loved one if they’re suicidal. Be direct. Be open, supportive, and non-judgmental.
- If the answer is yes, be open, supportive, and non-judgmental (e.g., avoid phrases like, “that’s selfish,” or “…but you have so many reasons to live”). Tell them how much you care about them. Above all, LISTEN. Often, simply acknowledging suicidal feelings is enough to substantially decrease risk of suicide.
- Seek appropriate help. Allow your loved one to give input on what might work best for them. Help them make a recovery plan. If they are badly hurt or in danger, call 911.
Help is out there…
If you feel you are in crisis, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Talk to a friend or family member, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. They are confidential, to a point, but may contact authorities if they think you’re in immediate danger to yourself. If you’re not in the U.S., click here for a link to crisis centers around the world.
More resources for those in crisis:
Resources for attempt survivors:
· This is How it Feels: A Memoir of Attempting Suicide and Finding Life – Craig Miller
· Haldol and Hyacinths: A Bipolar Life – Melody Moezzi
· Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliatn – Sue Wiygul Martin
· Eight Stories Up: An Adolescent Chooses Hope Over Suicide – DeQuincy Lezine
· An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness – Kay Redfield Jamison
· Loud in the House of Myself: Memoir of a Strange Girl – Stacy Pershall
· The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness – Elyn Saks
All content © 2010-2017 Dese’Rae L. Stage Photography
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
I am a numerous suicide attempt survivor. Praise God, I am still alive today.
I am a Mental illness advocate and it is my passion to educate about mental illness, increase awareness about mental illness, reduce the stigma of mental illness and the stigma associated with suicide and prevent suicides. I want to and must reduce the alarmingly increasing rate of suicides around the world today.
I continue to make a daily post about suicide everyday throughout the month of September for Suicide Prevention month. This is post #28 and if you have missed my previous posts, please check them out on my blog. Also, continue looking on my blog for two more daily posts about suicide for the rest of September.
We must launch a better and stronger and more influential plan and campaign to reduce and eventually eliminate mental illness stigma and the stigma associated with suicide in the world. It is time for a change… let’s make a difference in this world and save lives.
We all need to do our part and do MORE. The first steps are accepting and understanding others with kindness, compassion and love. We all need to educate and learn more about mental illness and suicide and suicide prevention. Start the dialog and be a voice.
We must all make our voices heard very loud and strong about mental illness, mental illness stigma and suicide prevention. It is critical. It is crucial. Each life is beautiful, precious and priceless.
We must prevent suicides and save lives.
We are all important, valuable and we all matter and make a positive difference, contribution and impact in this world and in the lives of many people.
It is great to be different.
Let’s celebrate our flaws and our differences.
“The things that make you different are the things that make you beautiful. Don’t ever change to be more like someone else.” ~anonymous
We must be different to know how to change the world and make it better.
Always remember how important, wonderful and valuable you are and…
Love and hugs, Sue
Copyright © By Susan Walz and myloudbipolarwhispers.com – All written content and personal artwork is © myloudbipolarwhispers.com and Susan Walz. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author/owner/artist is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to My Loud Bipolar Whispers and/or Susan Walz with appropriate and specific directions to the original content.