Recently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that incidences of suicide are rising across the U.S. Read more in their latest issue in Vital Signs – June 2018.
The article discussed why we should be concerned with the latest suicide data, that suicide rates have increased in nearly every state from 1999 through 2016. Texas saw a 19.6% rate increase.
Mental illness is often seen as the only cause of suicide. However, it is only one factor. Many factors contribute to suicide among those with and without mental health conditions: relationship problem (42%), problematic substance use (28%), crisis in the past or upcoming two weeks (29%), criminal legal problem (9%), physical health problem (22%), loss of housing (4%), and job/financial problem (16%). Persons who died by suicide may have had multiple circumstances. Data on mental health conditions and other factors are from coroner/medical examiner and law enforcement reports. More than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition. It is possible that mental health conditions or other circumstances could have been present and not diagnosed, known, or reported.
The recent deaths of celebrities Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade has brought more attention to the topic of suicide. CBS This Morning featured Internist Dr. Jon LaPook to speak on suicide, he discussed risk factors and the need for more preventative care and outreach for mental health. He urged primary care providers to question patients and look for warning signs, such as isolation from friends and family, increased alcohol and drug use, aggression and fatigue.
What can we do?
The CDC said that people can learn about warning signs of suicide to help people at risk. One resource is the website: www.BeThe1to.com. To reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). A Lifeline Chat feature is also available if individuals would prefer to type their need for help rather than call.
Burke offers Mental Health First Aid training to the community at no charge so that they may help someone who may be in crisis or showing the signs of mental illness. Find out more and sign up for a class online. Burke offers expanded access to www.7cups.com, a platform for text chat, online therapy, and counseling.
Our toll-free Crisis Hotline is available to anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or emergency: 1-800-392-8343.