2018-06-13 / Editorial

Suicide is preventable; there is always hope

Suicide rates in the United States have increased nearly 30 percent since 1999, according to data released Thursday by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1999 and 2016, suicide rates increased significantly across most states, rising in all but one state during that time period.

According to the CDC, the suicide rate increased significantly in 44 states and rose by more than 30 percent in 25 states. In Michigan, the suicide rate increased by a staggering 32.9 percent between 1999 and 2016. In Lapeer County there is hardly a day when 911 Central Dispatch doesn’t get a call, or several, of someone who has called for help because they think a family member, a friend or a coworker is acting “suicidal.” Often when that occurs, especially if it’s known there may weapons in the home, police are dispatched in addition to an ambulance crew that is directed to stage nearby until police determine it’s safe to enter the property.

Tragically last week there were two suicides reported in Lapeer County, both by men who used a gun to end their life.

The CDC report came out the same week when two high-profile suicides, those of designer Kate Spade and renowned celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, have brought renewed attention to the issue of suicide.

The CDC also looked at 2015 suicide data for 27 states and found that 54 percent of people who died by suicide did not have known mental health conditions.

Those without known mental health conditions who died by suicide had a significantly higher likelihood of having relationship problems, criminal legal problems and were more likely to have a recent or impending crisis than those with known mental health problems, the CDC report said. Physical health problems or job and financial problems were found to near equally affect both those with and without known mental health conditions. Other key findings:

Two-thirds of those with known mental health conditions who died by suicide had a history of treatment for mental health or substance abuse order and approximately half of them were in treatment when they died.

The report notes that though experts regularly say suicide is not caused by a single factor, suicide prevention is often focused on mental health alone. The CDC called for a comprehensive suicide prevention approach is needed at a statewide level that addressed the full range of factors contributing to suicide.

The County Press on Sunday will dedicate our INSIGHT focus to the topic of suicide. We will speak with officials from McLaren Lapeer Region and Lapeer County Community Mental Health to explain what resources are available locally to assist citizens and their families who may be coping with someone who has directly indicated their wishes to end their life or someone who has exhibited behavior that concerns loved ones.

The topic of suicide shouldn’t be a whisper, it needs to be a full-throated open discussion among family, friends, clergy, coworkers and associates who are concerned about the health and well-being of people they know and love. If someone doesn’t seem themselves, a simple question like “Are you okay?” is an easy way to show them concern that may facilitate a deeper conversation about their state of mind. Telling someone who may be suffering from depression and having suicidal thoughts to “snap out of it” is not helpful, and may in fact only add to the stress level the person may be experiencing. Rather than create greater hurt and shame, depression needs to be treated like the medical emergency it is and not to label people as “broken” or mentally ill with no regard for consequences of such labels.

Suicide is often the tragic result of many complex factors. Suicide is preventable. There is always hope.

But if you need help now, call 911, go to the emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

Return to top

Copyright © 2009-2018 The County Press, All Rights Reserved

Click here for the E-Edition
2018-06-13 digital edition

Unrestricted access available to web site subscribers

Subscribers to the County Press newspaper can now purchase the complete online and E-Edition of the paper for as little as $5 for three months. If you want a six month subscription to the online edition it is $10 and a full year can be purchased for $20.

Non-subscribers can sign up for the online version for $15 for three months, $30 for six months and $60 for an annual subscription.