Every day around the world, one suicide attempt is reported every 40 seconds.
Sadly, there is a contagious aspect to suicide, especially in the wake of high-profile deaths. For example, the back-to-back deaths of world-renowned celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain was not only shocking, but also had a trigger affect on others who experience suicidal thoughts.
In fact, when a public tragedy takes place—especially a high-profile suicide—the risk for deaths by accidents, suicides, and murders significantly increases in the public along with a rise in depression, anxiety, and aggression.
From the outside, it seems as though celebrities like Spade, Bourdain, or even Robin Williams had it all: fame, fortune, success, and love. So when they took their own lives it caused people to stop and think, “If they couldn’t handle the world, then why should I?” Their deaths represented the death of a dream and a hopelessness to many who struggle with suicidal depression.
In Canada, approximately 4000 Canadians die by suicide annually, and it’s the second most common cause of death among young people. However, men in their 40s and 50s have the highest rate of suicide. Women are three to four times more likely to attempt suicide than men, but men are three times more likely to die by suicide than women.
How Can We Prevent Suicide?
Of course, it’s impossible to prevent all suicides, but there are strategies to help reduce the risk. For example:
- Seeing a professional for treatment and building a solid relationship with a doctor or mental health professional
- Creating strong social support networks, including family, friends, or a peer support group
- Learning how to cope with problems, and trusting those coping skills
Although proper treatment is crucial, it’s not a quick fix. It can take time for suicidal thoughts to become manageable or to stop altogether. It’s imperative to stay connected with your support and seek extra when you need it.
If you experience suicidal thoughts, you need to talk about them with your doctor, mental health professional, or a trusted person. It can also be helpful to schedule regular appointments with mental health professionals or use phone-based support such as the suicide prevention hotline.
What If Someone You Know Is Suicidal?
Contrary to popular belief, if you believe someone is suicidal, you should ask them directly if they’re thinking about hurting themselves. Talking about suicide will not give someone the idea to carry out the act. If someone you love is seriously contemplating suicide, they may be relieved to finally talk about it.
If the person says that they are thinking about hurting themselves, then it’s essential to ask them if they have a plan. If they do have a plan and are thinking about committing suicide soon, then you should connect with crisis services or supports immediately. If you are unaware of crisis, distress, or suicide helplines in your area, you can call 9-1-1. Always stay with the person while you make the call, and don’t leave until the crisis line or emergency responders say it’s okay to go.
The important thing is to listen to your loved one and help them connect with mental health services.
Trauma Practice Can Help with Recovery
When someone has moved beyond the point of crisis and is read to recover from the trauma they’ve experienced, Trauma Practice can help. Our goal is to improve the conversation through safe venues focused on trauma-informed care, where up-to-date and accurate information is widely shared. Together we can create an open dialogue and reduce the stigma and isolation of those who suffer.
A one time or monthly contribution to Trauma Practice means that we can all pay it forward and help others on the path of trauma recovery. Make a donation today.