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National Suicide Prevention Week: September 9 – 15, 2012

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week

Mental health and addiction are contributing factors of suicide.  Depression and suicide are linked; the risk of suicide is increased by more than 50 percent in depressed individuals. Aggregated research findings suggest that about 60 percent of people who committed suicide were depressed.  Alcoholism and suicide are also related.  The risk of suicide in alcoholics is 50 to 70 percent higher than the general population.

Some more statistics:

  • More than 36,000 people in the U.S. die by suicide every year, about one every 16 minutes.
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
  • Suicide ranks third as a cause of death among young (15-24) Americans behind accidents and homicides.
  • Approximately 90 percent of people who complete suicide have a mental disorder.
  • Those with the following diagnoses are at particular risk: depression, schizophrenia, drug and/or chemical dependency and conduct disorders (in adolescence).

Oftentimes suicide of a loved one leaves family members and friends wondering, “What could I have done differently?” or “How could I have prevented this?”  The following are some warning signs that will help you determine if you or someone you know is at risk :

Here’s an Easy to Remember Mnemonic for the Warning Signs of Suicide: IS PATH WARM?

A person at risk for suicidal behavior most often will exhibit warning signs:

  • I – Ideation • Expressed or communicated ideation (Threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and/or Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary)
  • S – Substance Abuse – Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • P – Purposelessness – No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
  • A – Anxiety – Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • T – Trapped – Feeling trapped (like there’s no way out)
  • H – Hopelessness
  • W – Withdrawal from friends, family and society
  • A – Anger – Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • R – Recklessness – Acting reckless or engaging in risk activities, seemingly without thinking
  • M – Mood Change – Dramatic mood changes

If you or someone you know has been exhibiting some or all of the signs above, GET HELP NOW!  Please call an addiction or mental health counselor at Horizon – (716) 831-1800. If a crisis is imminent, call 9-1-1 or crisis services of Buffalo, NY 716-834-3131 (Available 24 hours a day).

Source of Information:
The American Association of Suicidology
2012 National Suicide Prevention Week: Media & Information Kit

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