A Few Thoughts on #Suicide Following Robin Williams’ Death
Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, August 14, 2014
The very fact that people care enough to attempt to prevent others’ suicide is evidence enough that 1.) People care, and; 2.) Life is worth saving.
So let’s talk about it.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2011 (the most recent year for which data are available), 39,518 suicides were reported, which makes suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. That year, someone in the United States died by suicide every 13.3 minutes.
Expressed another way, 790 people in each of the 50 states died from suicide in 2011. That’s 2 per day, per state… every day, all year long.
And because of rounding to the closest whole number, 3018 are completely overlooked.
In 2005, there were more deaths by suicide than homicide.
In 2010, there were more deaths by suicide than those involving automobile wrecks.
In 2009, the United States Army identified that deaths from suicide by military veterans of the Iraq War and War in Afghanistan were double that of non-veterans. And in 2012, there were more deaths from suicides by active duty service members than combat-related deaths.
Clearly, suicide is a problem in the United States.
Who commits suicide?
According to 2004 data, the typical victim is elderly, white, male, lives in the Western United States, and used a firearm.
Suicide has touched virtually all of our lives.
For me, suicide touched my life at an early age when my maternal grandfather committed suicide while my mother was in the early states of pregnancy with me. She and my Daddy decided to briefly delay sharing the news of her pregnancy with family, and it was during that time that he killed himself.
While I was in High School, an underclassman classmate committed suicide when he discovered his girlfriend was pregnant.
While I was in High School, another underclassman classmate whom was a promising baseball player, committed suicide at a party in his parents’ residence.
Shortly after I graduated High School, I learned of the suicide death of one of my peer classmates whom was the Vice Principal’s son.
Several years after graduating, a beloved friend and peer High School classmate served in the Navy, and after completing his tour of duty and obligation to the United States, committed suicide.
Some years later, I learned that a beautiful young underclassman lady upon whom I had a crush in High School had committed suicide. Her father was a retired officer whom had worked in the Pentagon.
Most recently, a younger professional female colleague committed suicide within the past year.
We know characteristically, that depression often accompanies and predicates suicide.
Robin Williams was said to be battling depression.
When are we as a nation, as a caring people, going to awaken to the scope, extent and nature of the problem… and begin to resolve it rather than to stigmatize it?
Here are a few helpful hints:
DO TALK ABOUT IT.
DO NOT PUT PEOPLE DOWN.
SIMPLY BECAUSE YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND, DO NOT CALL PEOPLE WHOM ARE SUFFERING FROM DEPRESSION DENIGRATING NAMES.
DO NOT MALIGN THOSE WHOM COMMIT SUICIDE, OR THEIR FAMILIES – YOU HAVEN’T WALKED A MILE IN THEIR SHOES.
If you know of someone whom is depressed, encourage them to talk about their feelings. LISTEN to them and DO NOT CRITICIZE or offer unsolicited advice.
ENCOURAGE them to seek help.
HELP IS AVAILABLE.
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline is:
Suicide Hotline: 800-784-2433
Immediate Medical Assistance: 911
Crisis Call Center: 800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
Wounded Soldier and Family Hotline: 1-800-984-8523
Military Crisis Line: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – Press 1
Military One Source: 1-800-342-9647