People affected by chronic conditions are more apt to feel suicidal, and to that end, I wrote the post Understanding the Connection Between Chronic Conditions and Suicide in June 2017. The celebrity deaths this past week of Chef Anthony Bourdain and fashion designer Kate Spade, coupled with the Centers for Disease Control’s report, Trends in State Suicide Rates have brought this issue to the forefront.
Suicide is preventable. If you are concerned about a family member, friend, neighbor or someone else, know the top risk factors for suicide:
• prior suicide attempt; family history of suicide; exposure to suicide, including loss of a loved one or graphic portrayal in media
• mood disorder like depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, conduct disorder, anxiety disorder
• chronic pain or other serious health condition, including traumatic brain injury
• substance abuse or alcohol abuse disorder.
• access to lethal means
• prolonged stress; stressful life events or major life changes
• childhood abuse, neglect or trauma
According to the CDC report, 54 percent of the people who killed themselves didn't have a previously known mental health issue. "Instead, these folks were suffering from other issues, such as relationship problems, substance misuse, physical health problems, job or financial problems, and recent crises or things that were coming up in their lives that they were anticipating."
The Mighty asked people with chronic conditions to share their “red flags” that let them know they might be suicidal. Among the comments shared were:
• Thinking the world would be better off without me; I’m a burden
• Withdrawing. Talking less and less. Feeling detached
• Feeling nothing
• Stuck in a though loop of feeling out of control, anxious
• Wanting to stop the pain
• Selling off possessions
• Stopping eating and/or taking medications
If you find yourself thinking such thoughts, or acting in this manner, or if you suspect someone is suicidal, get help. Let someone know. Call 800-273-TALK. If you prefer use the Crisis Text Line text to 741741 for free, 24/7.
People do want to know how you feel and they want to help. You are not alone. If the feelings are strong, consider it like having severe chest pains and go directly to an emergency room.
If you are concerned about someone, in addition to the resources listed above, contact #Bethe1to.
For more information on this topic read Understanding the Connection Between Chronic Conditions and Suicide.