Sunday, September 9, 2012

The Elephant in the Room: Suicide (Part 2 of 8)

September 9 through September 15, 2012
Suicide Prevention Awareness Week
Every year since 1974 ('75?), the nation has come together in a week-long campaign to help promote Suicide Prevention Awareness.  All sorts of events are held all over our country, in the hopes that the information received there will help keep even just one person from committing suicide. The idea is to draw attention to suicide prevention, suicide warning signs, reduce stigma surrounding the topic of suicide (so that more prevention happens), encourage those who need it to seek mental health assistance, and to support those who have attempted suicide, as well as those who have lost someone to suicide.

Walks are organized, screenings are done, information is handed out, and memorials are held for those who have been lost. Fundraisers collect money for research for mental health issues, and for existing suicide prevention outlets.  All of this helps coincide with what is known as World Suicide Prevention Day, which is held annually on the 10th of September. As the name would imply, this is the day that suicide prevention is recognized all over the world. 

For my small part in helping promote and spread awareness, I am posting one blog post every day this week—Suicide Prevention Awareness Week—in the hope that even one person may be saved. I have experienced loss to suicide myself (some time ago now) and find this to be a therapeutic way for me to deal with that grief.

I intend to give you as much information as I can on suicide but I also strongly encourage you to take the time to read the personal stories attached within all the facts. These are real people, with real stories that I have collected, just for this occasion. They wanted to let anyone who reads their stories to know that they are not alone in whatever they are going through. There is hope and there is help.

Thank you for stopping by to check this out. Suicide is preventable. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to spread the word, so pass this along as you see fit to. Here’s to hoping we can help save some lives.
Before I begin this post, I encourage you to read Part 1 in this series if you have not done so already. This will give you the back story as to why I chose to do a post-a-day for this particular week. What are you waiting for?? Go, now!

A thought (later explained more) a friend of mine gave to me the other day...
A slightly unconventional definition/reason for the term, if you will.

Su-i-cide (s'-sd'):
  1. The act or instance of intentionally killing oneself.
  2. The destruction or ruin of one's own interests.
    For example: It is professional suicide to involve oneself in illegal practices.
  3. One who commits suicide.
That is the official definition, for any and all who aren't quite sure what the term really means. I only included the second part of the definition...well, because it was there LoL I, however, digress.

(According to good old Wikipedia) Over one million people in the world die this way annually. To add to that, there is an estimated 10 to 20 million unsuccessful attempts at suicide annually. That is a lot of death. A lot of grief. A lot of healing to be done....

Here are some more statistics on the matter:
  • Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for young adults (aged 15 to 24 years old).
  • Suicide is ranked as the 10th leading cause of death in the United States (coming in at least 4 slots AHEAD of homicide). 

  • For every one completed suicide, there is an estimated 8 to 25 unsuccessful attempts.
  • There are approximately 4.5 million suicide survivors in the U.S. alone.
  • Every year, 1 out of every 65,000 children ages 10 to 14 years old will commit suicide.
  • On average, one person dies every 14.2 to 16.2 minutes from suicide.
  • Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men; though men are 4 times as likely to die from suicide than women.
  • The risk of suicide rises with age. Most significantly in men aged 65 and over.
  • The risk of suicide for women peaks between 45 and 54 years old and then again after the age of 75.
  • Men aged 65 and over are seven times more likely to commit suicide than women who are aged 65 and over.

  • In a given year, approximately 10% of Americans are affected by depression. That is more than 24 million people. 
  • At some point in their lives, at least 15% of the population will suffer from major depression.
    • Approximately 30% of all clinically depressed people attempt suicide with nearly half of them dying from their attempts.
  • Over 60% of ALL people who die from suicide suffer from major depression (major depressive disorder).
  • Depression is the most treatable of ALL the mental illnesses.
    • Between 80 and 90% of people with depression respond positively to treatment. 
If your school DOESN'T have one, you should ask them to get one!!
 Despite these pretty damning statistics, most people don't talk about suicide at all. It is frowned upon and looked down on as a cowardly, selfish act. I can admit that I thought those exact same things before (and even after) my own loss to suicide. However, a close friend of mine said something to me the other day that made me stop and think. She said that "maybe suicide isn't selfish or cowardly, but instead the only way that person could find peace for themselves. The only way to make the hurt stop." Which is why I chose the above picture to start out this post.

I also feel the need to point out to you that not everyone who attempts suicide does so out of depression (though there is usually an underlying battle with depression going on as well). Some do so out of anger. Anger for which they see no other outlet for...
"I dunno if you knew or not, but I [have] been suicidal since I was 9. I still think about it, but really haven't acted on it, until last year. I only cut my wrists though. I was going to kill my mother-in-law, but I took it [out] on myself before I put hands on her. It was like "beat the shit out of his mom and get a divorce and go to jail or stay in this marriage because I loved the guy." And I picked that and cut up my whole arm. She doesn't live with me anymore. I'm glad [that] she doesn't."   ~~Anonymous submission from a very dear friend of mine

For the record, I'm glad the necessary steps to help you were taken and she doesn't live with you anymore honey. You don't need that kind of stress. I love you <3 Thank you for courageously sharing your story with me and with others.


Tomorrow, September 10, 2012, is International Suicide Prevention Awareness Day/World Suicide Prevention Day. This is the one day that is set aside ALL OVER THE WORLD so that we can all come together to help spread the word to those in need of it: "You are NOT alone. You ARE loved. You WILL be missed. There IS help out there." From those who are considering this as an optional end to their situation to those who are looking to live each day without someone who did go that route. You ARE NOT alone in this journey.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) has a list of events that are going on all over the world in participation of World Suicide Prevention Day. Since most of us are very busy with our day to day lives, and many of you will be hearing about this rather late this year (next year, I promise to do better!!), I have chosen the simplest way to participate for the day.

Gone, but never forgotten...
A world-coordinated candlelight vigil.

September 10th, 2012 is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you are looking for a simple and yet meaningful way to participate this year, then you can easily take part in the candlelight vigil that has been coordinated by IASP.

Light a candle near a window at 8 PM to show your  support for suicide prevention, to remember a lost  loved one, and for the survivors of suicide.

The International Association for Suicide Prevention
invites you to light a candle at 8 PM
I am lighting a candle for Hanse tomorrow night. Who are you lighting a candle for? What other events are you getting involved in? I hope next year I can do more. This year, this is all I have to offer.

If you live in the Tillamook area, there is an Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) workshop that you can attend. According to the information ad in our local newspaper:

"Asist is a comprehensive suicide intervention training. ASIST is the result of more than 20 years of research and development, and is the most widely used suicide intervention program in the world. ASIST is partially funded through a federal grant targeting suicide prevention alternative.
By the end of the workshop you will know:
  • The signs of suicidal thinking
  • How to intervene to prevent immediate risk of suicide
  • The resources available in your area"
If you are interested in attending this workshop it will be held on September 20th and September 21st from 9 am until 5 pm at Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC). Registration for attendance is required. The cost to attend is $30 per person and for Social Workers, Counselors, and First Responders there are Continuing Education Credits available for taking this workshop. If you would like to register, please take a moment to call (503) 842-8201 ext. 271

Stay tuned in for tomorrow's post! I have a lovely piece written by the truly inspiring Pauline Vetuna over at Just the Messenger! that I will be sharing with you tomorrow in honor of World Suicide Prevention Awareness Day. She hails from Australia and will be sharing some of the events that are going to be happening over there for tomorrow.

If you need someone to talk to, please call the number above.
There is someone one the other end who WANTS to help you.
Suicide is NOT the answer.


  1. So wonderfully written, conceived, and informative. THANKYOU.

    1. Thank you :) I tried to make it as coherent as possible without crowding in too much at once. Glad it was informative, I'm hoping they all are!


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