While it is common for everyone to feel down or sad at times, a person whose symptoms last for more than two weeks may be having a major depressive episode, according to The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Suicide is a serious public health problem that can have lasting harmful effects on individuals, families, and communities. Suicide risk is more than a mental health concern and is a public health problem because of its far-reaching effects:
- Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States. It was responsible for more than 47,500 deaths in 2019.
- In 2019, 12 million American adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million made a planned attempt, and 1.4 million attempted suicide.
- People who have experienced violence, including child abuse, bullying, or sexual violence are at higher risk for suicide.
- Early 2020 data show a 4.6% decrease in suicide deaths during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the pandemic has increased many risk factors for suicide, such as social isolation and barriers to physical and mental healthcare.
A CDC study showed that a range of factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. Everyone can help prevent suicide by knowing the warning signs and where to get help.
The warning signs of depression should never be ignored. Anyone with these symptoms should speak with their primary care provider or a behavior health specialist. Loved ones or friends who exhibit these symptoms should be encouraged to do the same.
According to CDC, individual, relationship, community, and societal factors may influence the risk of suicide. Know the warning signs, including:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
Someone may be experiencing depression and not realize they have it, as symptoms vary.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 37 percent of adults with a major depressive episode did not receive treatment. It’s also important to point out that without proper treatment, symptoms can get worse.
The treatments for depression can vary and include medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two.
“Often, the most difficult cases of depression can be effectively treated,” says Dr. Hockmuth. “However, the sooner the treatment can begin, the better it will work.”
Suicide prevention is everyone’s business. Safeguard the people in your life from the risk of suicide and support them:
- Keep them safe.
- Be there.
- Help them connect. You can start with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).
- Follow up.
If this sounds like the situation you or someone you care about is confronting, please contact Good Therapy’s team of licensed professional counselors and therapists today at 630-473-3971.