Suicide rates go up every year
Here on Long Island, it feels like we hear of a suicide every other day and it’s heartbreaking to know there are so many people who see death as their only option. Throughout the United States, suicide rates have gone up nearly 30% since 1999, according to data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In fact, out of all 50 states, the suicide rate rose significantly in 44 of them and rose by more than 30% in 25 of the states. Here in New York, the suicide rate rose by 28.8%.
At risk people deal with multiple issues
In the face of these numbers, it can be easy to pass them off by thinking people who commit suicide all suffer from mental health conditions but, in truth, 54% of suicides in 2015 were committed by people who had no known mental issues. What is more common among people who commit suicide are current or impending crisis such as relationship issues, legal trouble, substance abuse, loss of housing, physical health problems, and job or financial trouble. It’s simply not enough to focus on one cause of suicide such as problems with mental health, but we must go further and look at the whole person and what is going on in their lives. People rarely choose suicide because of just one issue. For someone attempting to kill themselves, there are usually many issues going on in their lives at once.
Twelve warning signs of suicide
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention list the 12 warning signs of suicide as:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
Listen to one another
In the span of only one year (2016), almost 45,000 people committed suicide. As we come together this holiday season, let’s take the time to really listen, show compassion for one another, encourage each other, and keep checking in with those who are going through difficult times. Though we can never truly know what is going on inside someone else’s head, we can be there for each other, care for one another, and try our best to let every person know they are not alone.
If you think someone you know is at risk of suicide, listen to what they have to say and ask them how they feel about what is going on in their lives. The CDC suggests you follow these steps:
- Ask someone you are worried about if they’re thinking about suicide.
- Keep them safe. Reduce access to lethal means for those at risk.
- Be there with them. Listen to what they need.
- Help them connect with ongoing support like the Lifeline — (800) 273-8255.
- Follow up to see how they’re doing.
- Find out how this can save a life by visiting: www.bethe1to.com
Every time we at Omni Clean are called to clean up after a suicide, our hearts ache for the victim and for all those left behind. Though cleaning up what remains is important and vital work to do for our community, we long for the day when those services are no longer needed and the suicide rates go down every year instead of up.
If you know of someone at risk for suicide
If you know of someone at risk for suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to 741741. Additional help can be found by contacting the Long Island Crisis Center or by using their 24/7 hotline at (516) 679-1111.
See the full CDC report