Chester Bennington. Anthony Bourdain. Chris Cornell. Aaron Hernandez. Nicholas Hughes. Jiah Khan. Andrew Koenig. Mindy McCready. Alexander McQueen. Megan Meier. Dave Mirra. Jeret Peterson. Phoebe Prince. David Reimer. L’Wren Scott. Kate Spade. Mark Speight. Amanda Todd. Robin Williams. Lee Thompson Young. Bill Zeller.
And that is just the short version. So, what do all of the names on that list have in common? Their cause of death was suicide…this century.
Suicide is estimated to be the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It is estimated that approximately 25 suicide attempts occur for every person who dies by suicide. Suicide is 100% preventable. Does that mean it is prevented 100% of time? Look up…but YOU and those around you are still here.
So, who does this affect? Did you read that list? You likely recognize some of the names on it. The people on that list are from different walks of life, different race, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation. Not to mention, each person on that list has loved ones they have left behind. It affects us ALL.
The local Out of The Darkness walk was held recently and it is plain to see that, just here in our community, suicide has left its mark. Men are estimated to die by suicide approximately 3.5 times more often than women. Elderly individuals commit suicide more often than younger individuals. And Caucasian males over 65 have the highest rate of death by suicide. But that does not mean that someone you know (maybe yourself) isn’t struggling.
Why do people consider suicide as an option? The reasons are endless: coping with death of a loved one, depression, anxiety, financial distress, untreated mental illness, postpartum depression, feeling overwhelmed by life’s demands (work, relationships, expectations, school), and the list goes on. And I’d like to add that, the reason may not always be clear. But also know, the list above is a small plea to say, you are not alone.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please talk to someone. If you know someone close to you (or not close to you for that matter), who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, encourage them to talk to someone. Someone does NOT need to be a trained professional. Someone can be a neighbor, friend, colleague, family member. There are call centers, organizations, suicide hotlines, hospitals, primary care doctors, counselors, social workers, and psychiatrists you can reach out to. And if you can’t find someone, or don’t want to tell those around you about what’s going on inside, I’d love to listen.