World Suicide Prevention Day 2018
From the desk of Dr. Joe Munson, Meridian’s Vice President of Prevention and Community Education
“Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide… Every 41 seconds, someone is left to make sense of it.” – Anonymous
It is estimated by the World Health Organization (WHO) that each year about 800,000 people die by suicide. In the US, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that 44,965 people died by suicide in 2016 (10th leading cause of death); compare this to the 17,250 that died by homicide in 2016 (11th leading cause of death) and it clearly shows the need for suicide prevention and greater awareness. Research suggests that for every suicide death, there are about 25 people who attempt suicide; that equates to over 1.1 million people who decided to attempt to take their lives in a year. Additionally, there are estimated to be 135 people impacted or affected by another’s suicide which means that each year over 6 million people in the US are affected by suicide.
Of those who died by suicide, it has been shown that over 50% were at minimum experiencing symptoms of depression with 90% having an existing mental illness or substance use disorder. Abraham Lincoln spoke these famous words about his own depression:
“I am now the most miserable man living. If what I feel equally distributed to the whole human family, there would not be one cheerful face on the earth. Whether I shall ever be better, I cannot tell; I awfully forebode, I shall not. To remain as I am is impossible. I must die or be better, it appears to me.”
Our mental health is something that we sometimes forget about but it impacts just about all aspects of our life: our ability to work, our relationships with others, our emotional well-being, and so on. But, there is something we can all do about it to prevent these issues…
Come together to prevent suicide.
Our communities have a wealth of resources available but most important one we forget to even recognize is… each other. It is important to remember that suicide is often about disconnection, isolation, and both physical and emotional pain. The best thing we can do for each other, especially if we are concerned about someone:
- is to listen to them with empathy
- share with them that you are concerned
- ask them if they are thinking about suicide
- Get them help from friends, family members, and professionals.
You can learn how to help a family member, friend, or colleague by taking a Mental Health First Aid course. With more than 1.3 million people already trained in Mental Health First Aid, we look forward to when this training is as common as CPR and physical first aid training.
Additionally, if you or someone you know is thinking about suicide please remember that there is immediate help available. You can call the following resources:
- The National Suicide Prevention crisis line at 1-800-273-TALK
- Meridian’s 24 hour crisis hotline at 1-800-330-5615
- The Alachua County Crisis Center, at 352-264-6789
Remember, YOU can #BeThe1To save a person’s life! This is a community issue and it will take a community to be active in helping each other.
Suicide is preventable, we need to start today.
To learn more about Mental Health First Aid or prevention services here in our community, contact our MHFA Coordinator, Yahaira Waters, at email@example.com or at 352-374-5600 x8652 or visit our website at https://www.mbhci.org/treatment-and-service/mental-health-first-aid/.