According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), more than 41,000 people die by committing suicide every year in the United States. While suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2014, an estimated 10,189 older Americans (ages 60 and up) died from suicide in 2013, stated the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The reason for suicide varies from person to person ranging from a traumatic experience to heavy losses or exposure to firearms at home. These factors were the major reasons for suicide in 2013 which recorded the highest suicide rate of 19.1 percent among people 45 to 64 years old, while the rate for people aged 85 years and above was slightly lower at 18.6 percent, added CDC. Demographically, women are twice more likely to attempt suicide than men.
Among the long list of probable triggers, mental disorders such as depression or anxiety or even substance abuse have been identified leading causes for developing suicidal tendencies. However, with suicide emerging as a major public concern, the tendency itself is now considered as a life-threatening mental health problem.
What is significant is that suicide is a preventable cause of death. Often, measures such as talking to someone close, undergoing therapy, getting involved in social activities can help in keeping the suicidal thoughts and tendencies at bay. Suicide not only ends the life of a person, but causes excruciating pain and agony to his/ her loved ones as well. Thus, in order to provide suicide loss survivors some comfort and relief, the “International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day” is observed in November every year. During the day, a gathering of people affected by suicide loss is organized where they come together and not only gain an understanding of their pain or situation but share stories of healing and hope as well.
Suicide as a mental health problem
With the significant rise in number of deaths due to suicide every year, the World Health Organization (WHO), estimates that the fatalities will rise to 1.5 million by 2020, across the world. “Suicide is a tragic global public health problem. Worldwide, more people die from suicide than from all homicides and wars combined. There is an urgent need for coordinated and intensified global action to prevent this needless toll,” observes WHO.
Several underlying factors including poverty, unemployment, loss of loved ones, arguments, breakdown in relationships and legal or work-related problems can contribute to a suicidal tendency, however, studies have revealed depression to be a leading cause of suicide. Besides, other mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder, anorexia nervosa, among others, can also trigger suicidal behavior.
Mental health problems and suicide have a deep link, and suicide itself is regarded as one. Despite the variety of underlying causes, most of the people who commit suicide have usually been diagnosed with some kind of mental illness.
Ways to prevent suicide
Fortunately, suicide is preventable, however, that requires a lot of support and understanding from family, friends and peers. The first way to prevent suicide is to recognize the symptoms that point towards suicidal tendencies. Hence, someone talking and thinking about suicide, isolating oneself, dwelling on thoughts of death or dying, developing problems of substance abuse and likewise could have become suicidal.
While people exhibiting such symptoms should be given special care and attention, they should also be given professional medical help. A medical professional can use diagnostic tools and therapies to identify the triggers and subsequently address the factors instigating suicidal thoughts in the patient.
If you know someone near you who is exhibiting suicidal behavior or suffering from any mental health problem that could lead to suicide, contact the Florida Mental Health Helpline for information on mental health counselor in Florida. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-846-5588 or chat online for further expert advice on treatment for mental disorders in Florida.