Hope you’re all doing well!
As many of you may have heard or read, a few weeks ago fashion designer Kate Spade committed suicide and then just a few days later famous TV chef and host Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.
In the aftermath of these two tragic suicides I came across some very disappointing statistics about suicide here in the United States:
- According to the Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) suicide rates have been rising in almost every state with nearly 45,000 Americans taking their own lives each and every year.
- Of the top 10 causes of death suicide is only one of three that is rising and not falling.
- According to the CDC more than half of the people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of their death. Life issues such as problematic relationships, substance abuse, financial despair, physical health problems or job stress likely played a key role in their suicide.
As if we did not already have enough reasons to ban or severely limit gun control here in the United States, it turns out guns are the most common method of suicide. The more people have access to guns the more chance of suicide because its easier for people to act impulsively.
When it comes to suicide the role of the mass media is also very important. As many of you may have noticed the mass media often over sensationalizes a suicide.
Often when the victim of a suicide is a well-known figure the media reports on the suicide in a very detailed manner and they keep developing and adding to the story as new details emerge.
This type of coverage can potentially be dangerous because studies show that the way a suicide is portrayed can influence other peoples’ behaviors. Suicide can actually become contagious through the spreading of thoughts and ideas.
For example, people are more likely to think about or even commit suicide if they can relate to the victim of suicide especially if the media portrays suicide as being that persons means for coping with their problems.
There are a number of different opinions on why the suicide rate has been consistently increasing. Some of the opinions include:
- Our lifestyle has changed in a drastic way. We are no longer directly connected to people but instead we form and/or maintain most of our relationships digitally through social media.
- Our life expectations differ greatly from those of our previous generations.
- We have become less resilient.
Obviously, the exact reason of each persons’ suicide is different. I don’t want to make any generalizations but I feel that in todays’ society one really big problem is loneliness.
Without a doubt, in many ways, we are more connected to others than perhaps we have ever been. But I do agree that many of us are lacking real life human connections with others.
This is especially true for millennials. One particular research report found that millennials are more likely to experience chronic loneliness than any other age group.
I think that sometimes we take for granted the power of reaching out to others. In the aftermath of these two recent suicides one particular Instagram influencer posted a picture of herself and in the caption, she discussed her battle with depression and she mentioned that in the past she has had some suicidal thoughts.
Her advice to her followers was to simply reach out to a loved one or friend whom you feel is going through a tough time. She mentioned that often after a major suicide story people post the phone numbers of suicide prevention hotlines but they fail to realize that in many cases if a person is truly thinking about suicide they may have already made up their mind and they may not be willing to take the initiative to call a help hotline.
Understandably, often times it is difficult for us to detect the fact that our friend or loved one is going through a tough time.
Occasionally, a friend or loved one who is going through a tough time may reach out to us by just texting or calling us about something trivial and if we are busy and/or we are not aware of the fact that they are going through a tough time, we may simply just ignore their call or text.
I know personally that this has happened to me a number of times in which I was going through a tough time and I was feeling lonely and so I reached out to others by just texting them about something trivial and hoping that they would reply so that I could start a conversation but unfortunately, they never replied.
There is nothing that we can do that is guaranteed to prevent a loved one from committing suicide but in my humble opinion we can do our part to make sure that those around us are not feeling lonely or down because they feel they have no one to talk to.
I know that many of us live very busy and hectic lives but if we occasionally just take a few minutes to talk with a friend or loved one whom we usually don’t talk to, I think that this can go a long way into making that person feel valued and loved.
Please feel free to let me know your thoughts!