It’s a week into Suicide Prevention Month and I haven’t heard it mentioned once. Not on social media, where I’m fairly well surrounded by mental health providers and people who are well versed in mental health issues...not on the news...not anywhere. There are other, extraordinarily important things going on right now (hurricanes, wildfires, the rollback of DACA).
If we know anything about suicide, it’s that people are suffering all the time. Any of us might be one of them. Suicide does not discriminate.
- Each day, an average of 121 people die by suicide.
- Of those, 22 are veterans of the US Military.
- That totals over 44,000 people per year, 8,000 of whom served our country.
- The rate of suicide has increased in the last 10 years.
This is an issue that touches all of us, both personally and professionally. As mental health providers, if we haven’t dealt with it directly yet, we will. Here at TDC, we want to create a space for open conversation and make suicide prevention something we are actively and regularly preparing for and educating ourselves about, so we’ll be devoting the rest of the month (with a few small exceptions) to opening up a conversation about suicide. We’ll be featuring organizations that provide assistance to those in need (a couple of them have been mentioned above), identifying how this issue might show up on the exams, and hopefully getting you to think about ways you can help- help yourself, your family, your friends, or your clients.
One of the statistics that stood out most to me:
- FOR EVERY PERSON THAT DIES BY SUICIDE, THERE ARE 25 OTHERS WHO ATTEMPT AND DO NOT COMPLETE THE ACT. That’s over a million people who need help, caring, support, love, compassion, and understanding. We are in a unique position as helping professionals to make a difference in people's lives- a difference that can truly be a matter of life or death. We hope you will join us on this journey and delve into these challenging, but vitally important, conversations with us.
I came across this post on MFTGuide and my heart skipped a beat. It was a year ago this week that my brother lost his battle with schizophrenia to suicide, and many years earlier, just having finished my first year of high school, when my father became one of the 22 veterans a day who loose the fight. I sat with a client last week who had just returned from Burning Man where they witnessed a man run into the flames and perish, and the week prior I helped a young clint come down off the edge of that cliff. I feel that suicide is all too present, and I'm determined to do all I can to convince those I come into contact with who are not terminally ill that it is not the only way, or even a way out of their suffering.
Thank you for letting us know that this is not being addressed and for addressing it to us.