Saturday before Thanksgiving is International Day of Suicide Loss Survivors. Centerstone recognizes this day as an important opportunity to spread messages of hope and healing to survivors of suicide loss, to discuss the significant impact of suicide, and to dispel the myths surrounding this very common tragedy.
A recent research-based estimate suggests that for every suicide death in the United States, about 135 people are exposed to the event, or 6.9 million people a year, said Jenna Farmer-Brackett, Centerstone Clinical Excellence Manager. This means that 40 to 50 percent of the American population has been exposed to suicide.
She points out that the large number of suicide loss survivors requires constant conversation and attention.
Suicide is something we need to talk about. The more we talk about it, the more we can be comfortable talking about it, and that translates into saved lives, Farmer-Brackett said.
Since conversations are essential to helping suicide survivors lose, it is essential to know what terms to use, she said.
We need to stop using the following terms: commit suicide, commit suicide, end suicide, Farmer-Brackett said. This is because everyone has different degrees of negative connotations and stigmas. Instead, we should use: died by suicide or lost their lives by suicide.
We need to choose better words in these important conversations so that we can hear without judgment and in order to better support suicide survivors, she said. We are working to eliminate suicide and one of the important steps towards this goal is to help survivors become more comfortable talking about it so they can work towards healing and healing.
Tools that can help suicide survivors
There are many tools that suicide survivors can use to help manage the powerful emotions that surround this very common and tragic phenomenon. They include:
Use your relaxation response to help create a calm mind and a calm body.
o Use careful meditation.
o Identify activities at home and at work that help you relax.
o Use your five senses to calm yourself, such as: practicing aromatherapy with essential oils like lavender, looking at beautiful pictures, listening to the sounds of nature, hugging something soft or drinking your favorite tea.
Expand and use your knowledge of yourself: your strengths and your limitations.
o Observe your reactions to stress. Learn the signs to see that indicate your need for outside help. And I find someone to talk to. When two or more people work together, they can achieve much more than just.
Increase positive emotions every day.
o Find joy and humor in your life. Identify those things or situations that bring positive emotions and cultivate them.
o Practice expressing gratitude. Tell others you care about them, care for them, and value them. Visits (when we can), phone calls, handwritten notes and letters are all great ways to increase your social connection and make you stronger and better able to withstand harsh bits and pieces. in your life.
o Focus on your achievements. Consider everything you have overcome, all your successes. Celebrate all the things you have done and are doing that are positive and informative.
Create a caring community.
o Find ways to connect with your community, any group of people who share goals and / or interests. Find ways to create and grow those communities, whether in person, online, over the phone or any other way.
Identify sources of support.
o Rely on supportive people in your community.
o Find people at work who support you.
o And be that source of support for others.
Practice good communication.
o Good communication and conflict resolution skills will help you in many areas of your life. Strengthen those skills through thoughtful practice. Stand up for your needs and desires while also respecting the needs and desires of those around you. Be neither passive nor aggressive, but be affirmative!
o Make eye contact. Clearly state your needs and desires. Listen to others to listen, not just to respond. Use the right volume of speech and a consistent tone of voice. Practice safe body language. These are skills you can cultivate.
Facts and Statistics on Suicide in the United States and Illinois
According to the CDC, 48,344 people lost their lives to suicide in the United States in 2018. That’s 14.2 people per 100,000. Most of those individuals, or 67 percent, were between 25 and 64 years old.
605 were between the ages of 5 and 14 years.
6,211 were between 15 and 24.
15,541 were between 25 and 44.
16,885 were between 45 and 64.
And 9,102 were 65 years old or older.
In Illinois, at least one person dies from suicide every six hours. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for Illinois residents between the ages of 10 and 24.
It is the second leading cause of death for people aged 25 to 34 years.
It is the fourth leading cause of death for people aged 35 to 54 years.
Ninth for ages 55 to 64 years.
And the 18th for people aged 65 and over.
More than four times as many people died from suicide in Illinois in 2017 than in alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, Farmer-Brackett said. The total number of those deaths attributed to suicide adds approximately 30,784 years of life lost before age 65.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 11th highest in Illinois. Suicide costs Illinois a total of $ 1,391,865,000 in combined medical and lifelong work loss in 2010, or an average of $ 1,181,549 per death from suicide.
Spreading the myths surrounding suicide
The more we can unmask the common myths about suicide, the more we can understand it and offer compassion to people who are fighting against this dark desire, Farmer-Brackett said. As a society, we should not be afraid to talk about suicide, talk about mental illness, or seek treatment for ourselves or someone in need.
Here are some suicide myths:
Suicide only affects individuals with a mental health condition.
According to the National Mental Illness Alliance, many individuals with mental illness are not affected by suicidal ideation, and not all people who commit suicide or die from suicide have mental illness. Relationship problems and other life stressors such as criminal or legal matters, persecution, eviction or loss of home, death of a loved one, devastating or debilitating illness, trauma, sexual abuse, rejection and recent or recent crises are also associated with suicidal thoughts and attempts.
If you are thinking that all of these reasons sound like the world around us during this pandemic, you will be right there, Farmer-Brackett said. There is a lot of concern about how the suicide rate is being affected by COVID.
Once an individual commits suicide, they will always remain suicidal.
The idea of active suicide is often short-lived and situation-specific. Studies have shown that approximately 54 percent of individuals who die from suicide did not have a diagnosable mental health disorder. For those with mental illness, proper treatment can help reduce symptoms.
The act of suicide is often an attempt to control deep, painful emotions and thoughts. But once those emotions and thoughts dissipate, so do those suicidal thoughts, Farmer-Brackett said. And while suicidal thoughts can come back, they are not permanent. Many people who have experienced suicidal thoughts and who have attempted suicide have lived long and successful lives.
Most suicides occur suddenly and without warning.
Most people who die from suicide give some warning signs. Therefore, it is important to learn and understand those signs. Many of them show warning signs only to those closest to them, but those loved ones may not recognize them. When this happens, suicide may seem sudden or unannounced.
This does not mean that it is anyone’s fault. Our goal is never to give judgment, Farmer-Brackett said. Our goal is to emphasize the importance of education and talk about these things in order to prevent future tragedies.
People who die by suicide are selfish and take the easy way out.
Typically, people do not die by suicide because they do not want to live; people die from suicide because they want to end their suffering, Farmer-Brackett said. These individuals are hurting so badly that they feel helpless and hopeless.
Individuals who experience suicidal ideation do not do so by choice, she said. They are going through a very hard and difficult time in life and need our help, not our judgment.
Talking about suicide will lead to or encourage suicide.
There is a widespread stigma associated with suicide and as a result, many people are afraid to talk about it, Farmer-Brackett said. Talking about suicide not only reduces that stigma, but also allows individuals to seek help, rethink their thoughts, and share their story with others.
There is only one cause for suicide.
Suicide most often occurs when stressors and health issues come together to create an experience of hopelessness and despair, Farmer-Brackett said. While depression is the most common suicide-related condition, other conditions such as anxiety and substance use issues, especially when left unaddressed, increase the risk for suicide.
Importers It is important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health concerns continue to be involved in life, she said.
Myths and misinformation can affect how much people choose to tell their service providers. Some fear that talking about suicidal thoughts will either be dismissed or generate a bitter reaction in the hospital, Farmer-Brackett said. But this silence can be devastating and affect the care taken. We all need to talk more about suicide.