Medical

Reach out to those who may be struggling

Reach out to those who may be struggling

As news of two celebrity suicides has upset many people around the world this week, it has presented a possibly lethal risk to a segment of the population: those already struggling with their own mental health issues. It's a fact unfortunately proven not only by the deaths of the highly successful Spade, who was 55, and Bourdain, who was 61, but also by the jarring statistics of a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, released on Friday: that suicide rates are up 25 percent nationally, that they rose steadily in almost every state between 1999 and 2016, and that, in 2016, there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides.

Each year, about 4,000 people in this country die of suicide, according to the Canadian Mental Health Association. An estimated 9.3 million adults reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year, roughly 3.9 percent of our nation's adult population.

"When I heard about Bourdain, I was sad for him and for all the people who were going to hear about it, and I am also sad for people who might be influenced by it", said Madelyn Gould, a professor of epidemiology in child psychiatry at Columbia University. However, its suicide rate remains one of the 10 highest in the nation.

While we don't know why these rates are increasing, we can make some inferences from the known suicide risk factors in middle-age adults, which had the highest increase. He says that the clinic typically takes in an average of 125 calls per day.

Two well-loved celebrities died by suicide last week, according to news reports.




Warning signs to consider, particularly in the aftermath of a high-profile suicide, include reckless or anxious behavior, sleeping too much or too little, mood swings, isolation, feelings of hopelessness and an increase in drug or alcohol use. Information is available in many places, including at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Volunteers are needed, and some train to become counselors.

A charity has called for a dedicated service to help families struck by suicide.

273-8255 - has been widely shared across social media in the last week - with celebrities, news outlets and advocates urging people who have suicidal thoughts to call. Both provide free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

People can also text CSIS to 839863 to speak with specialists at Families First. Depression has no boundaries; it's not limited to or defined by societal norms or constructs. But we can start by talking - about a health care system that reaches more people, and treats mental health and addiction without judgment; about an economy that doesn't leave its workers on the edge of poverty; and about laws that recognize the role of firearms in violence. Talk to each other.

kizzzbeth/Flickr The reasons why suicide rates are climbing may be as complex as the solutions. Please reach out if you find yourself in the darkness.


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