Suicide Prevention

The Impact of Suicide on Others #MHM

With recent events, I felt it was timely and important to discuss the impact of suicide on the survivors, such as friends, siblings, parents, and children.

(I want to note that, as of the time of this writing, the cause of death for Mr. Loncar is undetermined. I’m not privy to exclusive information and I’m not any more informed about what happened that the public in general. The incident was simply the catalyst for writing this article.)

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Suicide is tragic for everyone involved. We can all agree that it is terrible that someone can reach a point that their ability to cope has been exceeded and they believe the only escape is suicide. But suicide has significant direct and indirect impact on others as well.

People mourning a friend or family who committed suicide, or died suddenly, are 65% more likely to attempt suicide. 80% are more likely to drop out of school or quit work.

Children (< 18) who lose a parent to suicide at an early age are three times more likely to commit suicide. They are also twice as likely to be hospitalized for depression and this applies to other family members as well.

Parents who lose a child to suicide have double the rate of depression for the two years after the death. They also have a 40% increase in anxiety disorders and a 60% increases in other disorders.

“Suicide contagion” is also very real. Analysis shows that at least 5% of youth suicides were influenced by the suicide of someone else, even when they weren’t well known by the person whether someone else at school, work, or a famous person. Some studies showed up to a 12% rise. In one incident, where a fictional subject on a soap opera committed suicide by overdose of acetaminophen, there was a 17% uptick of attempts of real world suicide by overdose using acetaminophen the following week.

Not only are there mental consequences but there are physical consequences as well. Incidents of cardiovascular disease, COPD, high blood pressure, and diabetes all go up. They are 18% more likely to get a divorce. Even that divorce can trigger suicide rates three times higher than average.

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As we can see, suicide has a significant impact on everyone and lasting effects on the people left behind. During these hard times, keep an eye on your loved ones for signs that they aren’t coping well. Here is an easy mnemonic device to help you remember what to look for:

Here’s an easy-to-remember mnemonic:

IS PATH WARM?

 I  Ideation
Substance Abuse

Purposelessness
Anxiety
Trapped
Hopelessness

Withdrawal
Anger
Recklessness
Mood Changes

 

As always, we’re here to help and if there is something we, or I, can do to help please don’t hesitate to call us at 911 in an emergency, 817-427-1000 in a non-emergency, or call my office directly at 817-427-7092.

 

All the best,

Officer Morgan

 

Resources:

  • http://www.sprc.org/sites/default/files/resource-program/Survivors.pdf
  • http://www.jordanharrisfoundation.org/ for parent survivors

 

References:

  • http://www.medicaldaily.com/suicide-bereaved-self-destruct-371022
  • http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/media/releases/children_who_lose_a_parent_to_suicide_more_likely_to_die_the_same_way
  • http://www.medpagetoday.com/psychiatry/generalpsychiatry/36399
  • http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/14/upshot/the-science-behind-suicide-contagion.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copycat_suicide
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK207262/

Masculinity & Mental Health

How masculinity affects mental health treatment:

Men are 3.5x more successful at suicide than women, typically because of the methods used. However, it’s the stigmas involved with mental illness that keep men from reaching out for help.

Men are generally raised with the idea that showing emotion isn’t what boys do and they are expected to fight through it or simply “get up, rub some dirt on it, and get moving.” Men are expected to be strong all the time.

Because of this, men don’t often seek the help they need when dealing with an issue. They sometimes won’t even reach out to friends for help because that’s just not what men do. Men are expected to be self-reliant and needing help is sometimes seen as a sign of weakness.

Because of this, reaching out for help is difficult and stigmatized as being a wimp but getting help could also clearly be seen as the very bold step.

If you, or a man in your life, needs help dealing with depression or any other mental illness, http://headsupguys.org/ is an online resource with tips and resources to help men deal with what they are facing. http://www.realwarriors.net/ is an online resource for those men AND women who served in the military and need assistance dealing with the “invisible wounds” they brought home.

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Mental Health Monday #MHM

We are excited announce a new hashtag campaign – Mental Health Monday – or #MHM for short. On select Monday posts, you can expect to find information from our Mental Health Officer that will share facts, statistics and helpful information on identifying and helping those who may be suffering from Mental Illness. Officer Morgan wanted to kick start the campaign off today. We’re going to be identifying some “warning signs” to look for, including those that pose imminent danger.

According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 individuals die by suicide, leaving behind thousands of friends and family members to navigate the tragedy of their loss. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24these rates are increasing.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviors are both damaging and dangerous and are therefore considered a psychiatric emergency. Someone experiencing these thoughts should seek immediate assistance from a health or mental health care provider. Having suicidal thoughts does not mean someone is weak or flawed.

Know The Warning Signs

  • Threats or comments about killing themselves, also known as suicidal ideation, can begin with seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous
  • Increased alcohol and drug use
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Talking, writing or thinking about death
  • Impulsive or reckless behavior

Is There Imminent Danger?

Any person exhibiting these behaviors should get care immediately:

  • Putting their affairs in order and giving away their possessions
  • Saying goodbye to friends and family
  • Mood shifts from despair to calm
  • Planning, possibly by looking around to buy, steal or borrow the tools they need to commit suicide, such as a firearm or prescription medication

If you are unsure, a licensed mental health professional can help assess risk.

Risk Factors For Suicide

Research has found that about 90% of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness. A number of other things may put a person at risk of suicide, including:

  • A family history of suicide.
  • Substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts.
  • Intoxication. More than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence.
  • Access to firearms.
  • A serious or chronic medical illness.
  • Gender. Although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide.
  • A history of trauma or abuse.
  • Prolonged stress.
  • Isolation.
  • Age. People under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide.
  • A recent tragedy or loss.
  • Agitation and sleep deprivation.

As always, if you have an immediate emergency, dial 9-1-1. If you need to speak to Officer Morgan, or would like further guidance in helping a loved one suffering from Mental Illness, Officer Morgan can be reached at 817.427.7092 or via e-mail: cmorgan@nrhtx.com

 

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