Why is Suicide on the Rise?
According to the World Health Organization, every 40 seconds a person dies from suicide. While here in the United States we have a multitude of prevention programs such as the Suicide Prevention Lifeline and the American Foundation for
Suicide Prevention, many people continue to take their own lives. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and second leading cause of death for ages
1024. In the last 25 years, suicide has reached its highest peak. The question we are asking today is: Why? With all the programs, treatments, and counseling services readily available, why are all our efforts to prevent death by suicide failing, and how can we prevent so many of our friends and loved ones from reaching this level of disparity?
Through educating the public about the signs of suicide as well as diminishing the progression of deinstitutionalization, suicide could and should finally be a thing of the past. (Although the goal of this essay is not to discuss the warning signs, it would still be beneficial review them.) Every website, book, or article relating to suicide will tell you the warning signs of suicidal behavior. The obvious statements such as “I’d be better off dead” or “I won’t be bothering you much longer” appear to be a clear indicator, but they are commonly overlooked. In addition, a preoccupation with death or dying such as expressing ideas about death through prose, poetry or art can also indicate the presence of suicidal thoughts. The Jason Foundation says that these types of
statements, whether direct or indirect, verbal or not, indicate that a person is 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves. Previous suicide attempts are also a huge indicator. After a “failed” suicide attempt and counselling, suicidal thoughts and feelings may still continue even if the victim says otherwise. Depression can also heavily increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts or behavior. The final indicator would be making their final arrangements such as giving away prized or favorite possessions or saying goodbye to their loved ones. While these are all very large indicators, any irregular behavior or abrupt changes in personality are also clear signs. Research shows that mental illness such as depression as well as substance abuse is very common in suicidal people. According to Out of The Darkness Walks
Over 90% of all people who die by suicide suffer from mental illness. However, 80%
90% of those who seek treatment recover due to the use of therapy and/or medication
(TAPS study). But most people who commit suicide actually haven’t been diagnosed with their mental illnesses, and just aren’t aware of their condition. So why are so many people not getting the help they need? If everyone at risk of suicide received treatment, the 40,000 lives per year would not be lost. Unfortunately, a substantial contender is the failure of people surrounding the victim to recognize the signs (which is why I included them in this essay). School systems spend roughly three to five days studying mental health during the one required semester of health class. While this is valuable, these few days are by no means adequate. Information should be much more readily available. Doctors offices have several pamphlets regarding a wide variety of health
issues but rarely do you find any regarding suicide. The public needs to be educated about the hazards of mental illness and the warning signs that could result in a suicide attempt or death. Deinstitutionalization “is the name given to the policy of moving severely mentally ill people out of large state institutions and then closing part or all of those institutions”
(Frontline). Deinstitutionalization began in 1955 after the widespread distribution of
Thorazine, the first effective antipsychotic drug, and…