November 11, 2019 at 6:57 pm · K P Lanthier · Comments Off on Suicide Awareness
By Dr. K. P. Lanthier, C.Psych.
World Mental Health Day 2019 focused on suicide prevention. According to WHO, one person loses their life to suicide every 40 seconds. This means approximately 800,000 people take their own lives annually. Suicide is not “an American issue,” nor any one country’s issue, nor any one community’s issue. Suicide impacts individuals across the lifespan — from youth to the elderly — as well as across the world. Notably, suicide is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 29-year-olds and 79% of suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. (APA, 2019).
Psychologists use evidence-based interventions in attempts to reduce loss of life by suicide. Interventions shown to be highly effective, address suicidal thoughts and behaviors, such as dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), safety plan interventions and crisis response planning.
Single risk factors do not predict suicide well. It is difficult to predict which people displaying risk factors ultimately will commit suicide. However, it is important to be aware of possible warning signs and to talk to kids or adults when they need help. As a friend or parent, you can help by talking and reaching out. It is a myth that if you mention suicide, you might plant the idea. By honestly and openly expressing your concerns, you can send an important message that you care and understand.
Recommend seeking professional help if you learn someone is struggling with thoughts of suicide. Seeing a psychologist can help. Therapy has helped many people that suffer from depression and other emotional difficulties. There is empirical evidence that most people who have a few sessions of therapy are better off than untreated individuals with emotional difficulties.
Death by suicide is always a tragic event. Death by suicide can trigger a host of complicated and confusing emotions. Please read APAs Suicide Coping Tips to help when coping from the loss of a loved one, or when helping a child or adult navigate such a loss.