Dr. CK Bray
The Monster We Don’t Discuss: SUICIDE
This past week has been difficult for my family as we deal with the loss of someone by suicide. I even hate writing those words, I never expected to discuss this topic on a podcast or in a newsletter. So, excuse the detour from my normal writing and let’s talk about a very difficult subject. I am hoping it helps you or someone you know who may be in crisis.
The first thing I always do when confronted with a problem is go to the research! I know someone has studied this and can help with answers. If I’m honest, the answers I found, combined with the emotions of recent events have been shocking and deeply troubling.
In 2016 45,000 of your brothers, sisters, moms, dads, uncles, aunts, friends, co-workers and classmates took their life. This doesn’t even include the numbers of those who attempted suicide. We hear about homicides in the news but never suicides because it is too scary for us to think about. Yet, suicide is the second leading cause of death in individuals ages 10-34. It is the fourth leading cause of death in individuals ages 35-54. Twice the number of people commit suicide than die by homicide every year. Yet, we don’t know what to look for, we don’t discuss it and we don’t know how to even begin to take steps to solve this major problem. I know more about preventing health-related deaths than I do suicide. It is time to change! This newsletter will first address those who may be contemplating suicide and then discuss the signs and risk factors we should be looking for.
If You Are Thinking About Suicide
First, if you have contemplated suicide in the past or currently thinking about taking your life please know that people care. You are loved!! You are important, and you can get help. Unfortunately, those around you may not be picking up on the warning signs, clues, or pain that you are in. If they knew, they would help. Most don’t see or know the warning signs, so others may not be aware of how you are feeling. Your suffering may be hidden behind your smile, your laughing, your success, and everyday conversations. So please—if you are in trouble let someone know! Call a friend, family or loved one right now and let them know. Don’t know what to say? Let me help:
“I am in pain and I need to talk to someone.”
“I am in a terrible place, can we talk?”
“I need help.”
Research shows that most individuals in crisis don’t call a suicide hotline for help. If you can’t call, then reach out to ANYONE and they can help you make this important call. If you feel you have no one to help you, then please pick up the phone or your computer, and someone who cares and someone who can help will answer.
REMEMBER: You are loved, you would be missed if you were gone. You can get help and you can recover from this and feel good again. You are worth fighting for and a meaningful life is ahead of you, even if you can’t see or feel it right now. Please take the first step in getting help by telling someone you need help or calling one of the numbers above.
What are the RISK FACTORS for Suicide?
Risk Factors for Suicide – Risk factors are characteristics that make it more likely that someone will consider, attempt, or die by suicide. They can’t cause or predict, but they’re important to be aware of.
• Mental disorder, particularly mood disorders and anxiety disorders.
• Alcohol and other substance use disorders
• Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
• History of trauma or abuse
• Major Physical or mental illnesses
• Family history of suicide
• Job or Financial loss
• Loss of a relationship
• Any major change in an individual’s life.
What are the Warning Signs for Suicide?
• Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
• Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
• Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
• Talking about being a burden to others
• Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
• Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
• Sleeping too little or too much
• Withdrawing or isolating themselves
• Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
• Extreme mood swings
Now the key is to be aware, stop, talk, and listen to those around you. The sad news is that depression, anxiety, and suicide are only increasing and at exponential rates. You need to be educated and aware so you can help others take the first step in getting help.
One of Kevin’s daughters wrote, “My mom surprised us with a visit on Sunday with horrific news that our father had passed away. The devastation and shock were almost unbearable, and our minds were filled with so many “why’s.” We had seen Dad struggle with depression, but yet he was the most hilarious and lovable guy to anyone that knew and met him. He lived for adventure, his laugh was infectious, he was humble and generous with all he had, and he was genuinely interested in everyone’s lives. He had the capacity to love anyone and everyone, but he just couldn’t love himself to the same extent.”