10 Things Everyone Should Know About Suicide and Depression

Depression is one of the most common illnesses affecting Americans; nearly 400,000 attempt suicide each year and 34,000 succeed. In fact suicide kills more people worldwide than war, accidents and homicides combined.  Despite this fact, it is still a topic for which our misunderstanding is matched only by our reluctance to talk about it. Here are ten things everyone should know about the dangers of suicide and depression.

 

Teens are not the Greatest at Risk for Suicide

While most of the media attention focuses on teen suicide it is actually the elderly that are at greatest risk.  Men over the age of 85 are 5 times more likely to commit suicide than the general population.  Not that teenagers aren’t a high risk group to but it is Important to look for suicidal warning signs in people of all age groups.

 

Suicide Rates Have Risen World Wide and for Teens in the U.S.

While overall U.S. suicide rates have stayed the same over the last several decades rates for teens and young adults have nearly doubled compared to 50 years ago. In that same time period global suicide rates have risen nearly 60%.

 

The Holidays do not Increase the Risk of Suicide

Researchers are unclear why this happens but more people commit suicide in the spring than any other time of the year. While the common perception is that everyone gets depressed around the holidays December actually has the lowest suicide rate.

 

The Higher the Altitude the Higher the Suicide Rate

Here’s another one that has the experts stumped; the suicide rate seems to climb with the altitude. People who live 6,500 feet in elevation are 70% more likely to commit suicide than their sea level habituating peers.

 

Poorer Countries Often Have a Lower Suicide Rate

Apparently the old adage that money can’t buy happiness holds true. It is actually the richer countries like France and Japan that have the highest rate while poorer countries like Brazil and the Dominican Republic have the lowest rates.

 

Family History Plays a Role in Suicide Risk

Children with a family history of depression are 10 times more likely to suffer from depression than children with no family history.

 

Depression is Only Responsible for 2/3 of Suicide Attempts

While many people will display symptoms of depression before a suicide attempt there is another demographic that runs a high risk. Alcoholics make up 1 in every 3 suicides in America making it the second leading cause of suicide.

 

Women Make More Attempts but Men Succeed More Often

Women are far more likely to attempt suicide than men with three attempts for every one attempt by a man but when it comes to succeeding the numbers reverse for every female suicide there are four male suicides.

 

Depression is Extremely Common

Approximately 15% of the population will suffer depression at some point during their lifetime. However, women suffer from depression at a rate 2 ½ times higher than men.

 

Bipolar Disorder Increases the Risk of Suicide

Some two million Americans are currently suffering from bipolar disorder. This illness, in which depressed episodes alternate with periods of manic highs, greatly increases the risk of suicide.

 

Depression is a serious and deadly disease; while everyone suffers from periods of sadness prolonged depression often requires treatment in the form of therapy or medication. With greater understanding about the nature of depression we can break the wall of shame and silence that leaves so many teens and adults at risk of suicide.


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