It's time to lessen the shame and start clearing the way for a more resourceful conversation.
In the wake of designer L'Wren Scott's death, it's important to recognize what a huge impact suicide has on our society. L'Wren was reported to be over 6 million dollars in debt, and people have done a lot of speculating about why she didn't ask her partner Mick Jagger for financial help or what might have driven her to give up on life.
Would getting a financial bailout have made a difference? An individual's reasons for suicide are so varied and complex that it's unfair and irresponsible to armchair quarterback someone's reasons for making this very personal, final choice. It reduces the act to a dramatic caricature where people are left scrambling to make sense of the incomprehensible.
According to the New York Times, suicide has risen sharply in the past decade, killing more people than car accidents. Unfortunately the literature on suicide focuses on teenagers and the elderly, while people in middle age are not mentioned nearly as often. Suicide in the military kills 50 percent more people than actual war according to pentagon statistics. And these are the suicides that were actually reported as such. When you consider that because of our society-wide reluctance to address this problem head-on, it's hard to tell how many other deaths we can actually attribute to suicide.
It becomes clear that while we struggle to understand what happened to L'Wren in the public eye, it's important to focus on what we can do in our private lives to prevent suicide in our loved ones and ourselves. It's time to lessen the shame and start clearing the way for a more resourceful conversation about our mental health.
Suicide risk factors vary depending on socioeconomic factors, but according to the national institute of mental health, they are as follows:
- Depression and other mental disorders
- Substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders)
- Prior suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Family violence including physical or sexual abuse
- Firearms in the home
- Exposure to suicidal behavior of others, such as family members or peers
Signs of suicide to watch out for in others are:
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
- Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or feeling isolated
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings. KEEP READING ...
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