Suicide Rates on Rise in U.S.

In a new report by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) they indicate that suicide rates are on the rise in the United States and have been increasing in number since the year 2000.

In fact, from 1999 to 2015, approximately 600,000 U.S. residents died by suicide, with 2015 being the deadliest year. Interestingly, the groups that are ranked highest are not those from the big cities, instead they are from the rural areas.  Further, the ethnic groups dealing with the increase in suicides the most is the Native Americans and those who are white.

Of note is that the report shows a steady climb with a spike around the year 2008.  In speculating why this spike occurred, one thought is that it may have been due to the pressures of the financial recession that occurred in our country at that same time.  Many individuals felt hopeless and stressed in their financial predicaments when businesses were closing their doors and the stock market plummeted.  In more detail is the fact that the rural communities suffered more in the recession due to poverty and social isolation along with less mental health treatment facilities and that may explain why the rates of suicide there are higher.

Further, since the year 2000, the CDC points out that men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women and the rate worsened in almost all categories assessed after 2008.

The findings of the CDC indicate that more mental health institutions need to be available in rural areas to help those struggling with suicidal thoughts.  The opioid crisis doesn’t help either along with other drug issues and the rural communities have been especially hard hit by that as well.  Finding solutions and having more preventative help in place for these ethnic groups, and in rural locations would be helpful in combating the increasing rate of suicides in the United States.

source: vocavtiv.com

Statistics about Depression and Suicide

It has been shown time and time again that depression and suicide are linked and intertwined in many ways Often, depression goes undiagnosed when prevention of suicide was possible. The most effective way to prevent suicide is through early awareness, detection, diagnosis, and effective treatment of depression as well as other mental health conditions (including alcoholism). Some staggering statistics are below. They are cited from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) Understanding Suicide: Fact Sheet for 2015.


  • In 2015, 44,193 suicide deaths were reported.
  • Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • A person dies due to suicide approximately every 11.9 minutes in the United States.
  • Each day, about 121 Americans take their own life.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are 3.5 male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
  • In 2014, 469,096 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm behavior, suggesting that approximately 11 people harm themselves (not necessarily intending to take their lives) for every reported death by suicide.
  • Suicide was the second leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 10 and 34 years in the United States.


  • Over 50 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
  • 25 million Americans suffer from depression each year.
  • Depression affects nearly 5-8 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year.
  • More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.
  • Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be detected.

suicidewarningtoolSuicide Warning Tool: Is path warm?

People sometimes contemplate suicide because of overwhelming things in their life, depression, loss, or for many other reasons. But being aware of some signs and symptoms can help to prevent suicide. Often, preventing a loved one from suicide can depend on the ability of individuals in their life to recognize distress and risky behaviors. Recently, the American Association of Suicidology developed a simple tool that is available for everyone to use to remember the warning signs of suicide. This helpful tool is called “IS PATH WARM” and outlines the key points to remember:

I  – Ideation (suicidal thoughts)

S – Substance Abuse

P – Purposelessness

A – Anxiety

T – Trapped

H – Hopelessness/Helplessness

W – Withdrawal

A – Anger

R – Recklessness

M – Mood changes

The American Association of Suicidology also indicated that other signs and behaviors to be aware of including:

  • Direct and indirect verbal expressions: “I don’t want to live anymore”, “there is nothing to live for anymore”, “people will be better off without me”
  • Dramatic changes in mood
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
  • Agitation
  • Increase in drug and alcohol use
  • Risk taking behavior
  • Aggressive, impulsive and/or violent acts
  • Expressions of hopelessness and purposelessness
  • Lack of self care or outright neglect of self
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Feeling tired most of the time
  • Gaining or losing a significant amount of weight
  • Changes in eating and sleeping pattern
  • Withdrawal from family, friends, and interests
  • Giving away prize possessions and/or making a will; tidying up personal affairs; writing notes; making notes on belongings
  • Reconnecting with old friends and extended family as if to say goodbye
  • Previous unresolved or recent suicide attempt(s)
  • Unusual happiness and peace after an intense period of turmoil and displaying the above characteristics

If a loved one is showing these symptoms, it is important to get help from a trustworthy source and to let other loved ones know as soon as possible. Doing so could prevent suicide and help the loved one find peace and solace and heal from suicidal thoughts and behaviors.


Source: yourlifecounts.org

suicidefacebookpreventionFacebook Adds Suicide Prevention Tools

Facebook has recently introduced new tools designed to prevent suicide in Japan, where it is a leading cause of death. The new tools, previously released in the United States on June 14, include a V-shaped symbol on the upper right-hand corner of the screen that can be pressed to flag and report that a user is concerned about a post being suicidal. This is great news in suicide prevention as people across the world can now flag a message as one that could raise concern about suicide or self-harm. After a post is flagged, those posts will then come to the attention of Facebook’s global community operations team, a group of hundreds of people around the world who monitor flagged posts 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Kumiko Hidaka, a Facebook spokeswoman in Japan said, “Thanks to this update, Facebook can offer more generous support to help people who post a message suggesting bad physical and mental conditions.” If Facebook users report a concern about suicide, they are invited to complete other functions on Facebook, such as sending a direct message, consulting another Facebook friend or reading information from specialists. The new tool aims to give friends and family more resources when they think a loved one needs help. Facebook partnered with the Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and Forefront to develop the tool

Further, the person who wrote the flagged post will also see a page that says someone is concerned about when they log into their account the next time. With all of the attention given to how many “likes” posts and pictures receive, just knowing someone is aware of the Facebook user could help them to reconsider their suicidal feelings.

The website upi.com reports that, “Facebook dominates among online networks – about 72 percent of Americans, and 77 percent of U.S. women use Facebook, according to Pew Research. Suicide has reached a 30-year-high in the United States, particularly among women and middle-aged Americans.

In Japan, 24,025 deaths were reported as suicides in 2015, according to the National Police Agency. Suicide in Japan was also the most common cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 39 in 2014.” (upi.com)

Source: Elizabeth Shim, upi.com

More White, Middle-aged People are Dying Due to Suicide and Drugs

Princeton University recently conducted a study where the outcome indicated that the overall rate of death of white middle-aged adults has risen sharply over the past 15 years, largely because of drug and alcohol overdoses, suicide, chronic liver disease and cirrhosis of the liver. In fact, the study noted that the rise is similar to the deaths in the U.S. due to AIDs.

In fact, no other industrialized nation has seen such a deterioration in a generation of individual’s health during the particular time frame of this study (1999-2013). Study author Anne Case, professor of economics and public affairs at Princeton is reported to say, “We sort of fell off our chairs when we saw that in the data, because that’s just not what’s happening elsewhere,” in a report by HealthDay. On the other hand, however, death rates of U.S. Hispanics and blacks continue to decrease. The study points to the fact that this “epidemic” crept in quietly because the attention and focus just wasn’t directed there. It raises important questions about individuals in their middle-age as they enter old age in worse health then generations before them.

Authorities have called the results of the suicide and drug abuse deaths both “alarming”, “very alarming”, and “pretty startling.” Also, the study shows that there are now more people aged 45 to 54 dying from alcohol and drug poisonings than from lung cancer. Further, the numbers indicate that adults with the least education (a high school degree or less) experienced the sharpest increase in death rates — up 22 percent.

Changes in both health care and social policy could provide some help for these disturbing figures, but the fact is that middle-aged, white, less-educated people seem to have less hope and more despair and are turning to suicide, drugs, and alcohol to cope with the challenges of life more often than ever before.

coughSyrupNew Teen Drug: Triple C

Many teens no longer turn to the shady school dealer for their highs these days. In fact, most just reach inside the medicine cabinet. Across the country, kids are taking dangerous handfuls of cold medicines known to them as “triple C.”

Cold, cough and congestion medications that are based on dextromethorphan, such as Coricidin are the new drug of choice for teens. The dangerous part is that they can find them at any grocery store or even in your home medicine cabinet – without parental permission.

Most teens take this triple C drug cocktail because it gives them euphoric effects. When they take these medicines at a dose higher then recommended, they feel very happy and may have hallucinations.

However, the hard truth is that although these over the counter drugs seem harmless to teens, the long term effects of abuse can include: psychosis, coma, movement problems, liver damage, and even heart trouble.

Parents need to be aware that cold medicines are being abused by kids. They should openly discuss the effects and long-term problems associated with taking too many pills or too much syrup devised to treat colds like in the triple C cocktails that are being experimented with.

Mental health in word tag cloudDual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual Diagnosis Treatment is much more common that it once was. Years ago, addiction and mental health disorders were treated separately. In fact, many believed that one had to overcome addiction first in order to work on mental health disorders. Research shows that working on both addictive disorders (alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction or another behavioral addiction) and mental health disorders (depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, a personality disorder, etc.) can result in successful outcomes.

So, instead of drawing a hard line between psychiatric health and addiction, the two areas of addiction and mental health are treated as part of a continuum. Therapists and clinicians who work in addiction recovery treatment can now receive training and credentials in the treatment of co-occurring mental health disorders. Also, many rehab facilities now offer recovery services that are personalized for clients with a Dual Diagnosis.

However, research shows that finding the right rehabilitation program can still be challenging, especially if individuals are struggling with depression or anxiety as well as substance abuse. Interestingly, The Office of Applied Studies, a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, reports that in 2002, just 12 percent of the 4 million American adults who suffered from a Dual Diagnosis received adequate treatment for both conditions.

If an individual meets the diagnostic criteria for a mental health disorder and an addictive disorder, they can be classified as a Dual Diagnosis client when entering treatment. The best treatment for a Dual Diagnosis should involve considering both the addiction and the mental illness when going through the recovery process.

Dualdiagnosis.org indicates that to increase the chances of recovering fully, one’s care should include:

“Parallel treatment of your mental health and substance use disorders by the members of a highly trained treatment team

Acknowledgement of the importance of psychotherapeutic medications, such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety meds, in the treatment of co-occurring disorders

A supportive approach to therapy that reinforces self-esteem and builds self-confidence instead of confronting the client with negative, aggressive statements

An inclusive treatment strategy that brings partners, spouses, children and other household members into therapy for individual counseling, group meetings or education

‘Sequential treatment’ was the norm before the 1990s, when clinicians believed that there should be a division between mental health treatment and addiction rehabilitation, note the authors of the text Integrated Treatment for Dual Disorders: A Guide to Effective Practice. In the sequential approach, clients with a Dual Diagnosis were excluded from one area of treatment until they were considered stable in the other. For instance, a depressed person with active alcoholism might not be able to receive therapy for depression until she had been through detox and rehab. Sequential treatment became less popular as research showed that it led to a higher rate of relapse.”

If an individual is struggling with both addiction and mental health issues, it would benefit them greatly to explore the possibilities of Dual Diagnosis Treatment.

Source: dualdiagnosis.org



"Old Dogs" Premiere - Los AngelesRobin Williamsaddiction and depression

Many know that Robin Williams struggled with addiction to alcohol and cocaine during his lifetime. He admitted to being a cocaine addict in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s when his fame grew tremendously.  However, he quit cocaine cold turkey when comedian John Belushi overdosed to death in 1982 on a combination of cocaine and heroine. After this immediate stop, he was sober for 20 years.

Williams’ struggle with alcohol was public knowledge.  He had struggled with alcoholism before Belushi’s death and iptimes.com reports that, “in 2006, he gradually became addicted to alcohol again. By his own account, it happened the moment he walked into a store and saw a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. He claimed that it was one of those times when he was having thoughts such as ‘Oh, come on, just a sip’ and then the next thing he knew, he had dove back into drinking. By his own account, he was purchasing bottle after bottle within just a week.”

Williamsaddiction will definitely not be forgotten.  Addictions like these are often wake-up calls to the public to actively seek professional help for their own addictions or that of a family member if his or her life is in danger.  There is such a strong link between alcoholism and depression that many wonder which comes first – which causes which?  According to WebMD.com, “research is currently split on the issue as to whether clinical depression leads to alcohol abuse or if alcohol abuse causes depression or both. What is known for sure is that alcohol has a very calming effect within the brain and that is why people are likely to turn to it when stressed. According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly one-third of those who struggle with depression of some kind have a tendency to abuse alcohol. It has also been shown that children with tendencies to clinical depression are more likely to develop alcoholism in their teens.”

Robin Williams’ tragic death should serve as lesson to all that both addictions and depression are not to be taken lightly.


suicidepreventionArticle in Deseret News about Suicide Prevention

SALT LAKE CITY — Members of the media and mental health professionals met together Monday to discuss how they can work together to help bring hope, information and resources to those in crisis.

“We can make a big difference when we partner with the media to get the right message out there,” said Kim Myers, suicide prevention coordinator with the Utah Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “I hope we realize the value of partnering together in forwarding these issues. The media can be great partner in that. … (It) can change the public perspective and promote healing.”

Myers moderated a panel discussion on suicide prevention titled “Crisis Response: What Role Does the Media Play?” at the Generations Mental Health Conference at the Salt Palace Convention Center.

The four-member panel was comprised of Liz Sollis of the Utah Department of Human Services; Candice Madsen, KSL-TV producer; Barry Rose, crisis services manager for the University Neuropsychiatric Institute; and Emily Hoerner with the Utah Chapter of American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Sollis said the Utah Department of Human Services tries to provide as much information as possible to help combat the barrier caused by the stigma surrounding suicide.

Read the full article.


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