We have been taught since childhood that self-harm and suicide are inappropriate and never the solution to any problem. Yet, every year, many of us still decide to end our lives by our own hand.
Do we kill ourselves because of a lack of coping skills? Do we raise our hand against our minds because we feel helpless and lost? Does turning on the “Off Button” somehow lead to the easing of an inexpressible pain?
When we read that suicide in America now kills more of us than car crashes, we are required to start to wonder what’s happening around us that we are not seeing or comprehending:
More Americans now commit suicide than die in car crashes, making suicide the leading cause of injury deaths, according to a new study. In addition, over the last 10 years, while the number of deaths from car crashes has declined, deaths from poisoning and falls increased significantly, the researchers report.
“Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe,” said study author Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University.
There may be 20 percent or more unrecognized suicides, he said. Many of the poisoning deaths may actually be intended, he added. A lot of these deaths are due from overdoses of prescription drugs, Rockett noted.
These “Killings by Economic Deficit” are, thankfully, but also regretfully, not just an American-made phenomenon:
In Greece, the suicide rate among men increased more than 24 percent from 2007 to 2009, government statistics show. In Ireland during the same period, suicides among men rose more than 16 percent. In Italy, suicides motivated by economic difficulties have increased 52 percent, to 187 in 2010 — the most recent year for which statistics were available — from 123 in 2005.
Researchers say the trend has intensified this year as government austerity measures took hold and compounded the hardships for many. While suicides often have many complex causes, researchers have found that severe economic stress corresponds to higher suicide rates.
Don’t kill yourself over an overdue bill or a mortgage or student loan debt. Breathing is the most valuable asset you have, and that is something you can share with those you love as an ongoing annuity. You don’t want your everlasting legacy, and your last act on earth, to be a public confession that you died over dollar.
If you’re thinking about hurting yourself for any reason, please don’t. Tell someone how you feel and don’t be scared to be blunt. Use the word “suicide” or “hurt yourself” to make it perfectly clear what’s on your mind and how you’re feeling. Once that despair is released from your body — starting through the expression of words alone — all things around you begin to instantly feel better.
If you notice a friend is down, don’t be afraid to be blunt. Ask what’s on their mind. Ask them if they’re feeling lost and suicidal. Then, if they are feeling lost, take action to get them help.
The National Institutes of Health offers this pathway for help:
Suicide is the eleventh most common cause of death in the United States. People may consider suicide when they are hopeless and can’t see any other solution to their problems. Often it’s related to serious depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or a major stressful event.
People who have the highest risk of suicide are white men. But women and teens report more suicide attempts. If someone talks about suicide, you should take it seriously. Urge them to get help from their doctor or the emergency room, or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). It is available 24/7.
Living is hard.
Suicide is easy.
Make the tougher choice to live.
Don’t throw away your last chance for contentment.