I received the following email from Steve Johnson out of the blue.
It may be surprising to some, but suicide is actually the second leading cause of death for young people ages 10 – 24. And in fact the suicide rate for both genders in that age group has steadily increased since 2007. But young people aren’t the only ones being affected by increased suicide rates. The rate of suicide for middle-aged men has increased by 40 percent since 2008.
From bullying to financial troubles to mental health issues, there are many reasons people choose to take their own lives. At PublicHealthLibrary.org, we’re seeking to educate young people and adults who may be considering suicide about the life-saving resources available to them.
The local suicide prevention hotline, which operates 24/7 is 1-800-892-8900.
It led me to accepting his offer to write an article on suicide, which is below:
8 Populations with a Higher Risk of Suicide
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., taking the lives of more than 41,000 people in 2013 alone.
This statistic is alarming, and it is important to do as much as we can as a society to reduce suicide rates and offer support for those impacted by mental illness.
To help prevent suicide can include learning about some of the populations that are at a higher risk, and knowing who to contact for help.
Below, we examine eight high-risk groups.
High Risk Groups
1. Members of the transgender community face immense challenges on a daily basis. Almost half of transgender youths have contemplated suicide, while one-quarter have attempted suicide. There are many reasons people in the transgender community face a higher risk of suicide, from rejection and lack of a strong social support system, to physical and sexual abuse. Transgender people of color face an even higher risk of suicide due to facing both racial and gender identity discrimination. As with many populations, addiction is another factor in the risk of suicide within this community.
2. Many U.S. Veterans face Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) when they return home from deployment. Symptoms of PTSD that may also lead to a risk of suicide include poor impulse control, anger, and traumatic memories. Veterans can also be overwhelmed by feelings of guilt, disturbing thoughts related to their time in combat, and difficulty adjusting to a non-military life. All of this can become so all-encompassing that it may lead to suicidal thoughts.
3. Older adults (those over 65) make up 12% of the U.S. population, yet people 65+ account for an estimated 18% of all suicide-related deaths. It’s believed that elder suicides may be under-reported by 40% or more, being considered “silent suicides”. These are deaths fromdehydration, self-starvation, overdoses, and accidents which are not counted in statistics. Other factors that contribute to increased suicide risk in older adults include being divorced orwidowed, and being a white male. The strongest influence, however, is a major psychiatric disorder, while alcohol use, pain, and illness are also influencing factors.
4. Those who have attempted suicide in the past continue to be at a high risk, particularly when the cause of the initial attempt (underlying mental illness, etc.) has not been resolved. People suffering from PTSD, those who have lost loved ones, or those experiencing some type of paralyzing stress in their lives may attempt suicide several times if they don’t receive adequate treatment and support.
5. Individuals with mental illness are may be inclined to attempt suicide. In fact, most people who die by suicide have at least one mental illness and/or emotional disorder, with depression being the most common one. In fact, according to Mental Health America, “30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.”
6. People who abuse alcohol and/or drugs are at a higher risk of suicide. In fact, after depression and other mental illness/emotional disorders, Psychology Today reports that alcohol and drug abuse are a “close second” among the risk factors for suicide. When people are under the influence of drugs or alcohol they are more likely to engage in risky behavior that may result in self-harm. Substance abuse may also lead to overdosing – which may be a result of constant use, or may be a vehicle for intentional attempted suicide. In addition, many people coping with substance abuse may also have a mental illness. This is known as a co-occurring disorder, and puts the individual at a very high risk.
7. Although it is sometimes believed that children who are bullied may be inclined towards suicide, bullying itself doesn’t often lead to suicide. When bullying leads to suicide it is almost always connected with a serious problem the individual is experiencing. A few of those situations may be other stresses in their lives, diagnosed or undiagnosed mental illness, and/or trouble with family and school. These kind of issues, combined with bullying, are what actually put the child at an increased risk of suicide.
8. People who have been victims of sexual abuse, incest, and/or rape are at a high risk at any age. This is an extremely serious and complex issue, which can lead to the victim isolating themselves. This negativity and isolation can lead to suicidal thoughts and feelings.
If there is any reason to believe a loved one may be having suicidal thoughts, or may be experiencing
things that could contribute to suicidal behavior, talk to them. Being aware and being present in that
person’s life is just one way to help. There are also helplines, websites, and other support systems.
Never avoid seeking help, there is always someone out there who cares.
= = = = =
Steve Johnson has always been dedicated to promoting health and wellness in all aspects of life.
Studying in the medical field has shown him how important it is for reputable health-related facts, figures, tips, and other guidance to be readily available to the public. He created PublicHealthLibrary.org with a fellow student to act as a resource for people’s overall health inquiries and as an accurate and extensive source of health information. When he isn’t hard at work in his studies, Steve enjoys playing tennis and listening to his vintage record collection.