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Seeking A Solution To Suicide

Updated on June 29, 2011

A Leading Cause Of Death

Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States and accounts for 50% more deaths than murder. Shocking statistics, to say the least, and reports show the numbers are increasing. What’s behind these sobering facts?

Experts concur suicide is not a pointless, random act without reason. Most people contemplating suicide are seeking an answer to an unbearable problem that seems to have no solution. To them life has become something they fear more than death. Suicide offers an alternative. The common denominator is a pervasive feeling of depression and hopelessness.

Everybody at one time or another has had the thought cross their mind. But most quickly dismiss it. It’s normal for a mentally healthy individual. However, someone suffering from severe depression might slide over the edge. It’s a choice appearing preferable to their present circumstances.

People who have had high standards or expectations are singularly vulnerable to thoughts of suicide when they fail to meet their goals. Extreme frustration leading to deeper depression is usually the result. People experiencing failure to their own shortcomings may see themselves as useless, worthless, or even incompetent. Suicide provides a definitive way of escape.

Not A Mental Illness

Normal persons don’t want to die. Suicide happens when someone’s suffering is so acute they believe there is no hope. Suicide is seen as a way to end it. Suicide is not a mental illness but rather a consequence of several mental disorders, especially major depression.

Suicidal tendencies are a common occurrence. Often, an impression nobody cares about them is predominant. They are seeking attention and may even resort to blackmailing people by threatening suicide if they don’t get their way.

A common myth about suicide is people who want to do it don’t talk about it. Most who do have told others and exhibited verbal or behavioral clues indicating their intentions. Dealing with suicide includes restoring hope and having a plan to stop their suffering. Steps must be taken to stop or reduce it. There are many ways to do this including use of medication, spiritual meditation and therapy.

Providing Hope

Providing hope is important. Short term suffering can usually be handled as long as there is hope. When an individual believes no hope exists, the risk increases. So how do you recognize someone who is contemplating suicide? There are signs to watch for.

Excessive sadness, withdrawal, mood swings and personality changes can be symptoms. Often, someone will begin putting their personal business in order such as visiting friends and family members, giving away possessions or making a will. They might even write a suicide note. This may include loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed. Calmness following a period of depression can also mean a person has decided to take their life. A major life crisis such as death of a loved one, job loss, major illness or divorce could prompt an attempt.

People working in professions, such as police officers and health care personnel working with terminally ill patients also have a high incidence rate. And although women are more apt to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed. Suicide rates are highest in teens, young adults, and elderly people over 65. Or if someone else the person cared for has committed suicide, then they are more likely to do so as well.

However, not everyone who considers suicide will say so, and not everyone threatening to will actually do it, although every threat to do so should be taken seriously. If you know somebody you feel may be considering this terrible act, get them professional help immediately. If you’re not a qualified professional don’t try to handle the situation yourself. You could aggravate the situation. For instance, confining the person to protect themselves from their own actions could be potentially disastrous. Someone who is bound and determined to follow through with their plan will find a way to do it. People who have been confined have been known to even drown themselves in a sink.

Often, those who think about committing suicide don’t consider the effect their actions will have on those who care about them. This is because someone in their frame of mind has developed “tunnel vision” of the mind and their thoughts are focused only on accomplishing the act.

If you know someone who has committed suicide you’ve probably experienced shock. Shock is usually the first reaction to someone’s death and you might not be able to function normally for a time. But, shock can be beneficial as it provides protection from the preliminary pain of loss. Following the initial shock you may feel angry, guilty or sad because maybe there was something you could have done to prevent it. Or you may be angry with a therapist who was working with the deceased because they failed to prevent the death. And you may even be angry with God for allowing it to happen. These thoughts are normal and you shouldn’t dwell on them.

The shame associated with suicide, originates partly from its historical and religious connotations. Early Roman and English law made suicide a crime because it was assumed a person only took their life to avoid paying taxes! And although the Bible doesn’t directly address suicide, early Christians defined it as murder.

If you are considering suicide, get professional help immediately. Call 911 if necessary. There is an abundance of resources concerning suicide on the internet.


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    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      I wonder if alot of people drink heavaly, chain smoke and ingage in other unhealty activities as a passive form of suicide!

      I do understand that brain chemestry has alot to do with it.

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      8 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Darn! what gave me away?

    • Lucky Cats profile image


      8 years ago from The beautiful Napa Valley, California

      Absolutely amazing article. Extremely well written; packed with information and an outline designed to prevent suicide. I always thoroughly enjoy reading your hubs, JY...I must re read your bio as I am sure you must be a professional writer; you offer facts and follow through in all your pieces. Thank you. Of course, USEFUL and VOTED UP!

    • JY3502 profile imageAUTHOR

      John Young 

      8 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      I'm fine,

      I get ideas about stories to write just listening to news,and what's going on around me. This idea came along when there was a story about teen suicide on the news. So I wrote it. Thanks for caring enough to ask though! But there was a time I came close. But that was about 10 years ago, not long after I left my wife. Guilt ate me alive for about 2 years...then the bottom fell out and I had a nervous break down.

    • MartieCoetser profile image

      Martie Coetser 

      8 years ago from South Africa

      Stomach-turning – that picture of yours! But I know that edge.

      Being suicidal is literally being in a dark tunnel and not able to see any light. Death seems to be the only outcome. It is, however, the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, caused by shock or prolongs suffering. One really needs medication and therapy. Physical exercises are also a must, for it encourages production of one of the most important chemicals, serotonine.

      I will never forget the last words of a friend before she committed suicide two days after she has spoken to me: “I’m afraid of myself. I know I must not be alone...” And yet, she planned the moment, taking her kids to her mother, making sure nobody will turn up to save her....

      We have three primary urges – To live, to multiply and to die. When the latter becomes the strongest, which is supposed to happen when we are very old, we will not fear death, but look forward to it. But this is normal. Abnormal is when that urge becomes the strongest while we are still too young to die.

      Fact is, suicide is the most selfish act a person can perform in his life, leaving his loved-ones behind in grief ten times more unbearable than the normal consequential grief after the death of loved-ones.

      So tell me, John, why did you write about this topic? It is, after all, one of those we ignore, except when we try to deal with the suicide of a loved-one, or with our own suicidal thoughts. Are you okay?


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