Many people in America suffer from depression, anxiety, and feelings of hopelessness. In a land known for freedom, democracy, compassion, and wealth (especially compared to third-world and repressed countries), we should be shocked by the vast numbers of our citizens who tip over the edge to suicide: 121 suicides each day and the 10th leading cause of death in America.
Studies Regarding Suicide
According to a report issued last year by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), there was a significant increase in the number of suicides between 1999 and 2014. The greatest increase in suicides occurred in women, especially those of Native American heritage and Caucasian (white) women, increasing by 89% and 60% respectively. Even pre-teen girls are committing suicide in greater numbers, the report showing nearly a 200 percent increase from 1999 to 2014; boys in the same age group also increased, but at a much lower rate: 37 percent.
Suicide rates in western states rank high. Wyoming often ranks in the top five states regarding suicide, and in recent years, our state had the highest suicide rate in the nation. Next week is Suicide Prevention Week and though a conference planned in Casper has been cancelled, an awareness walk will take place September 23 at Mike Lansing Field, according to reports.
What Causes Suicidal Behavior?
The mid-2000s saw the greatest spike in suicides possibly due to the economic crisis. There are many factors that can cause a person to consider suicide. Sometimes a physical health issue such as a hormonal imbalance or thyroid disorder may lead to suicidal thoughts. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health illnesses are also a leading cause of suicide attempts. Even the make- up of the teen brain can increase young people’s risk for suicide.
A report in the Indian Journal of Psychiatry, based on several studies of suicide and suicidal behavior around the world, shows that nearly one million people die from suicide each year. The author, Dr. Lakshmi Vijayakumar, states, “Depression is the most common risk factor for serious suicidal behavior in both men and women and occurs twice as often in women as in men.”
Eating disorders can be another factor, especially for women. “Women with anorexia are estimated to have a 50-fold increased risk of suicide, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in those with anorexia,” Dr. Vijayakumar writes.
There is hope for those who experience depression and suicidal thoughts. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression, it is okay to acknowledge your feelings and seek and obtain help. See a physician to be sure there is nothing medical going on with your body. Counseling centers in Casper, such as The Healing Place, Central Wyoming Counseling Center, and others, provide listening ears and thoughtful counsel and these professionals can refer you to the right doctor to provide medication if needed. There is no shame in seeking help for suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Depression, anger, hopelessness, fear, and regret – these can lead to suicidal thoughts and actions. But, they don’t have to. There is hope and there is help. If you’re feeling suicidal or know someone who is, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (24/7) or dial 911 for local assistance. You are not alone; there are people who care and people to help who want you to live and embrace hope and healing.
A list of community and national resources can be found here: http://natronacountysuicideprevention.org/resources/.