The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released their updated suicide mortality rates in November 2018, compiling data collected from 1997-2017. According to their findings, suicide mortality rates have increased 33% amongst all ages ranging from 10 to 74 in males and females (H. Hedegaard, A. Curtin, & M. Warner, 2018)
Being aware of this dramatic increase brings me to the question of “what are we not recognizing about individuals who consider and follow through with suicide and what more can we do in order to decrease these numbers?” When you hear people talk about friends and family members that they have lost to suicide, they usually make statements such as “I never saw the signs,” “They did not seem like they would ever do anything like this,” “They were always so happy and cheerful and full of life.” I agree, this would make it impossible to recognize signs and symptoms of suicide and this why it is always important to check in with loved ones. Different ways to check in with people can include calling them on the telephone once or twice a week, especially if they live in different cities with no family or close friends, sending a text message or email to let them know that you are thinking of them, or inviting them out on the town for food or an activity that includes social interaction and fresh air. Engagements like these can lift a person’s spirit and may even allow them the space and opportunity to open up to you about their true thoughts and feelings. Suicide prevention can also begin with us being educated on the signs and symptoms that are there and we do not recognize as signs of suicide, but rather just normal behavior for that individual.
Some of the more common signs of a person with suicidal ideation and possible plans include a person writing notes or journaling about wanting to die, formulating a plan or researching ways on how to die, making statements that they feel no one loves them or cares for them, beginning to use drugs or an increase in drug use, isolating themselves, or an increase in aggressive behaviors towards others or themselves through self-harming. These are all behaviors that I have encountered when responding to crisis calls. When I ask the question “are you currently feeling suicidal or have you ever have suicidal thoughts or attempts in the past,” the answer is always, “YES!”
I encourage you to read the updated article from the CDC regarding the increase in suicide mortality right here in the U.S., as I have provided the direct link: