World Suicide Prevention Week : Get The Facts

World Suicide Prevention Week : Get The Facts

by Laura Geftman, LCSW 

The world continues to be shocked over about the many high-profile suicides including Anthony Bourdain, Kate Spade, Chester Bennington, Robin Williams, and Chris Cornell. Sadly we read news reports about what went wrong for those who seemed to have everything going for them and yet took their own lives. While each of these lives lost are picked apart in the media, it’s important to recognize that the increase reports of suicide are not only in the news media. These surprise deaths have put a national spotlight on larger problem.

Suicide Statistics

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • Suicide rates have increased by 50% from 2000 to 2016, and they increased more than 30% in half the states since 1999.
  • In 2016, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide in the US.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause for death for Amercians overall. 
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10-34.
  • Almost 10 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide.
  • More than 1.3 adults self-reported a suicide attempt.

Contributing Factors to Suicide

Suicidologists regularly state the suicide is not caused by a single factors. Suicide seems to be more than a mental health concern. A recent CDC study showed that those with and without known mental health conditions reported a range of factors contributing to suicide including relationship problems, life stressors, and substance abuse.

Substance abuse is most definitely a factors considered in this study. It’s worth noting that 85% of those known to have a mental health condition were more likely to have a substance abuse history. However it is not indicated what kind of drugs were reported and/or if cannabis was considered an addictive drug for the purpose of this study.

National Suicide Prevention Week

This week marks National Suicide Prevention Week. It’s a chance to spread awareness, progress the conversation, protect mental health rights, and hopefully save some lives. Talking about suicide and mental health can make all the difference. 

Dr. Christine Moutier, the Chief Medical Officer of the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention (AFSP) told “Good Morning America,” “…the face is that if you think oh you’re life has not been touched by suicide ever, it probably mean that it’s just not being talked about.”

The week (and really this whole month- National Suicide Prevention Month) is a time to share resources and stories in effort to shed light on suicide, raise awareness, and connect those in need with appropriate services.

What Are Suicide Risk Factors

People talk about seeing the signs or not seeing the signs, but what are the signs that someone may considering suicide? The thing is there’s not a list. It’s something that tends to be more gradual and is specific to the individual. If you sense a change in behavior, increased depression or sadness, acting out of character, withdrawing from family & friends, a change in activity level or energy- it is time to ask more questions, get others involved and take action. 

Cannabis & Suicide

There have been various sturdies looking that the link between cannabis and suicide. And as you might expect, the studying say both- there is and is not a relationship between the two. Older (and definitely more biased) studies report there is increased suicidal behavior with cannabis, and the newer research refutes them. There does not yet seem to be an unbiased creditable resource about this. It is, however, worth noting that substance abuse (including cannabis) had been proven as one of multiple factors of suicidality.   

How You Can Help A Suicidal Person

Ultimately the most important thing you can do for someone who may considering suicide is to be available. The means being here to listen without judgement, check in with them, and support them  The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline defined five steps to help someone who may be considering suicide:

  1. Ask. Don’t be afraid to ask. It will not put an idea in their head but it may help them talk things through.
  2. Keep them safe. If someone indicates they are considering suicide, it is important to seek immediate medical attention especially if they share their plan or have access to firearms.
  3. Be there. Let them know they have a should to lean on and listen without judgement.
  4. Help them connect. Support is very important for someone battling the idea of suicide. Help them connect to their support system.
  5. Follow up. Continue to check in with them.

Help Is Available

If you are or someone you know I’d questioning suicide, it is important to remember that regardless of what you may think- you are not alone. People do want to help you.

If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741. You can reach Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 (US) or 877-330-6366 (Canada) and the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. Such an important topic. Thanks for sharing this info.

  2. It is so important to talk about suicide and to reach out to family and friend struggling!

  3. A great quote I heard this week was “Mental Health is not Fight Club–you can talk about it”. I went to a conference a couple of years ago and they said that people avoid asking people about suicide because they are afraid it will give the person the idea and make them more likely to do it, when in reality it is just the opposite. Talking about it and bringing it into the light is very helpful.

  4. Great post. This is a growing problem we all need to have a conversation about.

  5. I am way too familiar with suicide and suicide attempts, having lost some people to it. It’s so important to raise awareness and to talk to people about it in an attempt to prevent future suicides.

  6. Alarming statistics. Truly a problem that needs more attention.

  7. Great post. Loved the Fight Club reference! It reaches people!

  8. Hi there, What a strong article. It is so sad that we have so many people suffering in silence. great job!

  9. Very important topic. Yes, we need to talk about it. Glad you are spreading awareness.

  10. Our vet gave us some CBD oil for our dog a couple of weeks ago. I really knew nothing about any of this until I started reading your blog. It’s very informative. Thanks for all the great info.

  11. This is so important, and I love how you tie it into your niche. Thank you for sharing this. It’s very illuminating.

  12. I’m so glad you chose this topic! It’s so important for people to understand what to look for AND what to do to help!

  13. This is such an important topic to discuss and share, especially with the younger generations! Thanks for sharing, I didn’t know it was World Suicide Prevention Day.

  14. This is such a hard topic to talk about, but it really does need more light shed to it so something can be done about it.

  15. Thank you for sharing. This is such an important topic and I’m glad you shared it.

  16. This is such an important post. One of the best ways to prevent suicide is to talk about it.

  17. Such a sad thing! Thanks for sharing this important information.

  18. These alarming statistics need to be shared more often then one day a year – thanks for spreading the word.

  19. Thankyou for sharing on such an important topic!

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