Suicide II

According to the Center for Disease and Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. The top 10 are listed below:

Heart disease: 633,842
Cancer: 595,930
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 155,041
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 146,571
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 140,323
Alzheimer’s disease: 110,561
Diabetes: 79,535
Influenza and pneumonia: 57,062
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 49,959
Intentional self-harm (suicide): 44,193.

In 2016, the highest suicide rate (19.72) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age. The second highest rate (18.98) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2016, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.15.

Numerous warning signs have been noted. Some of the more common are listed below.

“Suicide threats. Previous suicide attempt. Alcohol and drug abuse. Statements revealing a desire to die. Sudden changes in behavior. Prolonged depression. Making final arrangements. Giving away prized possessions. Purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills. The more clues and signs observed, the greater the risk” (

The warning signs are often best seen in retrospect. If there is any concern whatsoever, it is best to ask the person if he/she in contemplating suicide. How might you do so? Simply ask. Asking will not give the person the idea. It provides permission to talk about the desperation. It is completely okay to ask a direct question, such as: “Are you thinking about suicide?” Any other semblance of the question can also open dialogue, such as “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?” Again, remember, asking the question provides opportunity for conversation and help.

There is no need to go it alone: there are many helpful resources to assist. One particularly useful resource is the QPR Institute. Their mission is: “To save lives and reduce suicidal behaviors by providing innovative, practical and proven suicide prevention training. We believe that quality education empowers all people, regardless of their background, to make a positive difference in the life of someone they know”. The acrostic QPR is used to prompt for important elements of intervention. “QPR stands for Question, Persuade, and Refer — the 3 simple steps anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. Each year thousands of Americans, like you, are saying “Yes” to saving the life of a friend, colleague, sibling, or neighbor”, .

More to follow in a subsequent post.