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Dramatic Increase in Suicide Rates
High profile suicides continue to capture the latest headlines. In recent weeks, news reports announced the deaths by suicide of D.J. and producer, Avicii; designer, Kate Spade; and CNN celebrity chef, Anthony Bourdain. These suicide deaths follow closely on the heels of The Cranberries lead singer, Delores O’Riordan and Soundgarden front man, Chris Cornell. One may wonder why such successful people, who seem to have it all, would choose to end their lives.
Adding even more impact to the string of shocking suicides is a recent Centers of Disease Control study that was published June 8, 2018, accompanied by banner headlines out of the Wall Street Journal, CNN, and other major news outlets proclaiming suicide rates having jumped 25% since 1999. Suicide strikes individuals from all walks of life, wealthy or poor. The outcry stemming from these concurrent news reports is that something must be done to help those suffering to get the depression treatment needed before it is too late.
The U.S. Suicide Statistics CDC Report
People in every community have been paying attention to local news or Facebook postings about a teen or young adult who has recently committed suicide. This spike in the rate of young people committing suicide has captured the attention of mental health professionals, school administrations, parents, and community leaders as the suicides continue to mount. What might seem to be an aberration, just a strange temporary uptick in suicides, has been replaced with the hard, sad fact that suicide rates have spiked over a 16 year period, with some states seeing 30%-58% increases, and with an average 25% increase nationwide.
The recent report published by the CDC has sent shockwaves across the country, relaying the somber news that every state except Nevada has experienced a significant rise in suicides. In all, an estimated 45,000 lives ended by suicide in 2016 alone. Interestingly, more than half of the suicides were committed by individuals with no history of mental illness or clinical depression. This fact speaks to the need for more people who are suffering from depression to get the treatment that could save their life.
Recognizing the Signs of Depression
Depression is a complex mental health disorder that can confound physicians and mental healthcare providers. Factors such as genetics, past traumas, brain chemistry, medical problems, and temperament can all contribute to major depressive disorder (MDD). Although most people experience the blues from time to time in response to a specific life event, clinically diagnosed depression is different.
The DSM-5 lists diagnostic criteria including nine depression symptoms, of which two or more must be present most of the time for over two weeks. These symptoms include:
- Feeling depressed most of the day
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Change in eating habits resulting in weight loss or gain
- Sleep disturbance
- Agitated or sluggish movements
- Extreme fatigue
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, or hopelessness
- Difficulty concentrating
- Obsessing about death or suicide
A doctor should see individuals who consistently exhibit some of these symptoms for more than two weeks.
List of Suicide Warning Signs
Suicide remains one of the most vexing mysteries. So often, loved ones proclaim that the person who had chosen to end his or her life seemed fine. They may admit that there were signs of depression, but were not fully aware of the anguish their loved one was experiencing in the dark corners of their own mind. Utter hopelessness and despair may consume them, even when it seems irrational to an outsider.
There are, however, some warning signs that can flash red flags that someone may be contemplating suicide. These suicide risk factors and suicidal behavioral signs and symptoms might include:
- Symptoms of depression
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Humiliation or shame
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Isolating from family and friends
- Extreme fatigue
- Excessive sleeping
- Saying they are a burden to other
- Expressing hopelessness
- Saying they have no reason to live
- Sharing that they are in unbearable pain
- Gives away prized possessions
- Talks of killing self
If you sense your loved one is contemplating suicide, CALL THE NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE AT (800) 273-8255.
How Depression Treatment Can Make a Difference
Depression treatment is available to those who seek it and can be life saving for a suicidal person. There are inpatient depression treatment programs available that can zero in on the individual’s specific causal factors and tailor a treatment plan for them. For individuals with fewer financial resources, there are county programs or state-sponsored mental health services that can be accessed.
Depression treatment consists of a combination of using antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. The medications may need to be adjusted a few times to get the best treatment result, and they usually take a few weeks to begin to make a positive change in the depression symptoms. Psychotherapy can involve individual therapy sessions and/or group therapy sessions. Other adjunct therapies, such as exercise therapy, yoga, meditation, and mindfulness training can augment the effects of the traditional therapies. Changes in diet can also impact the mood in a positive way.
For individuals who do not respond to the antidepressants, there are alternative methods that may help. One very promising depression treatment is transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which uses magnetic pulses that deliver electrical currents directly to the brain region that regulates mood, stimulating the sluggish brain cells. Regardless of which treatment approach is taken, the bottom line is that depression, and subsequent suicides, are rising at alarming rates and obtaining depression treatment offers new hope.
Depression Treatment Programs for Adults and Teens
The Treatment Specialist will connect you to a treatment center can be your greatest resource when you or your loved one is suffering from the debilitating effects of depression and are showing suicidal behavioral and warning signs. These highly trained specialists will swiftly assess the needs of the individual using a free assessment tool, and then guide you or the family member, at no charge, to the best depression treatment program for your particular needs. A Treatment Specialist will also conduct a free insurance review to inform you of your health plan’s mental health benefits. For immediate assistance getting help for severe and major depression, please contact for help at (866) 644-7911.