There is an average of 123 suicides each day in this country with approximately 44,000 people in the U.S. alone committing suicide each year, making it one of the fastest-growing epidemics in the country.
Suicides are the tenth leading cause of death in America — second leading for ages 25-34, and third-leading for ages 15-24. In 2019, 12 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million made a planned suicide attempt in 2019, there were an estimated 1.38M suicide attempts and 47,511 Americans died by suicide. Suicidal thoughts can plague anyone regardless of age, gender, or social status, and conditions like depression, anxiety, and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, can increase the risk for suicide. Suicide is a global issue and it is important to know that none of us are alone.
Mental health is an important part of overall health and well-being. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood. While nearly half of individuals who die by suicide have a diagnosed mental health condition, research shows that 90% experienced symptoms. Suicide and suicide attempts affect the health and well-being of friends, loved ones, co-workers, and the community. When people die by suicide, their surviving family and friends may experience shock, anger, guilt, symptoms of depression or anxiety, and may even experience thoughts of suicide themselves. Suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play to save lives and create healthy and strong individuals, families, and communities.
Most people who take their lives do exhibit warning signs, either through what they say or through what they do and although risk factors can increase the possibility of suicide, they are not always direct causes.
- Previous suicide attempt
- Mental illness, such as depression
- Social isolation
- Financial problems
- Job problems or loss
- Legal problems
- Substance use disorder
- Traumatizing childhood experiences like child abuse or neglect
- Family history of suicide
- Relationship problems such as a break-up, physical or sexual violence, or loss
- Feeling like a burden
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
What can you do?
If you or someone you know is or has struggled with depression or thoughts of suicide, it is important to find a person or network of trusted people, to talk to. For some people, it will be helpful to share their thoughts and feelings with many different family and/or friends, while for others it may be helpful to only talk to a few close friends or family members about their mental health or struggles. No matter how many people are chosen, simply talking to someone sympathetic and receiving encouragement can reduce stress levels and improve your mood.
Do you want to talk but don’t where to start? Try process talking. Process talking means to “talk about talking,” rather than talking just to share information. An example of this would be saying: “I want to talk to you about something important but I’m not sure how to talk about it or where to start”. “I want to talk to you but please just listen to me and try to understand”. Although it may be embarrassing to you, telling someone that there is something that is bothering you, or admitting that you may need help, is an important step in getting the support and help you need. Don’t give up looking for support and encouragement from others. Don’t fall into the lie that you are alone, or that no one cares. You probably have no idea how many people genuinely want to help you, support you, and just how many people love you.
Are you a Veteran in crisis or concerned about one?
It can occur at any age, to anyone. PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) can be triggered by events like military combat, assault, natural disasters, a terrorist attack, or even just a threat of serious injury or attack. PTSD can trigger intense flashbacks, disturbing thoughts and can have long-lasting negative effects such as trouble sleeping, anger, nightmares, being jumpy, and alcohol and drug abuse. Symptoms are typically delayed and might start within one month of the traumatic event, but sometimes symptoms may not appear until years after. These symptoms cause significant problems in social or work situations, relationships, and in your normal daily tasks. Another condition similar to PTSD, that occurs in reaction to a traumatic event, but different in timeframe is Acute Stress Disorder. Symptoms of ASD typically will occur between three days and one month after the event. Many times we only associate Veterans as having either PTSD or ASD but it can happen to anyone and when these troubles don’t go away, it is crucial help is sought.
At Med First, we love and appreciate our Military and believe strongly in supporting our Military and Military families. We know that there are sometimes special challenges that can come with prior and current military service and the toll that it sometimes takes on families. We are proud to serve the large Veteran and Active-duty Military community in the Jacksonville area! We invite you to contact any of our locations across North Carolina if you or your loved one needs a medical visit, a referral to a specialist, or help finding resources.
Remember, whether you or a loved one is struggling with feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, stress disorders, or thoughts of suicide, Med First cares!
We are here for you. If you need us we have a variety of visit and scheduling options to suit your needs. We proudly offer Telemedicine, Same day appointments, walk-ins, a dedicated appointment line, and even online self-scheduling options for new patients and existing patients!