by John F.
Too often we don’t realize there’s a problem until it’s too late. The same is true when we hear of a suicide of a family member, friend, co-worker or celebrity. We react with shock and sadness, but then upon reflection, we realize there have been warning signs along the way.
In 2008, 1,402 Ohioans completed suicide; averaging more than 3 a day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in Ohio, with the largest percentage being in the age range of 35-44.
Startling facts from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:
- Suicide is the 4th leading cause of death for US adults ages 18-65
- Every day, approximately 90 Americans take their own life.
- There are 4 male suicides for every 1 female suicide, but 3 times as many attempts are made by females.
- The suicide rates for men rise with age, while the suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45-54 and again after age 75.
- Over 60% of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression.
- Alcoholism is a factor in about 30% of all completed suicides.
- Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses.
Everyone can learn to identify warning signs that indicate someone may be at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss, or change.
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
- Talking about being a burden to others.
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
- Sleeping too little or too much.
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
- Displaying extreme mood swings.
If you or someone you know is experiencing warning signs of suicide, get help. Talk to someone, access help, and take action before it is too late.
What do I say?
Talking is the best medicine. If someone tells you they want to kill themself, ask them to tell you more about how they feel and really listen to what they have to say, steering clear of judgment and arguing. Avoid the temptation to say things like “You have so much to live for,” or “Your suicide will hurt your family.”
Work on a safety plan together. If you are talking over the phone, ask them about their surroundings- “Is there anyone with you? Where is your family?” “Do you need to go to the hospital?” Ask, “What can we work on together to keep you safe?”
It is important to stay with them. Be supportive while keeping their safety first priority. See if they are willing to talk to a professional or call a suicide hotline. 281-CARE is available 24/7 and always ready to talk with those in crisis.
Helpful resources are available in our community:
- Call 513-281-CARE(2273) to talk immediately with a local, trained individual and to start the process of getting help.
- Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-TALK) to be connected with a trained counselor in your area.
- Mental Health Advocacy Coalition to get information about educational and advocacy efforts in the area of mental health in Ohio.
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center for general information
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for general information