How to get help for someone who might be suicidal

Grant Boone
June 9, 2018

Only one state, Nevada, had a decrease in its rate (1 percent).

And the increase in suicides in MA has been blamed on the travails of middle-aged men, who account for the largest number of suicide deaths.

But the report found that many people who committed suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental illness.

"Suicide is more than a mental health issue", the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat said in a media briefing Thursday.

If you're anxious about how to start the conversation, Lieberman offered some suggestions.

Calls for better suicide-prevention efforts are mounting, after a federal study identified a sharp rise in suicide rates in the United States over the past two decades.

If you or someone you love needs help, the National Suicide Prevention hotline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text "talk" to 741741.

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The report also states suicide rates went up more than 30% in half of the states since 1999. Montana recorded the highest rate of 29.2 suicides per 100,000, and Washington, D.C., the lowest, at 6.9 suicides per 100,000 people. The Kansas suicide rate is growing much faster than the national average.

Dr. Schabbing says she's not surprised by the new statistics but says they point to a need for more education and more conversations about suicide and some of the warning signs. After actor Robin Williams died by suicide in 2014, for example, researchers tracked a 10% increase in suicide deaths over the next four months, likely in part due to a high volume of detailed news stories.

But "if we only look at this as a mental health issue, we won't make the progress that we need", Schuchat said in news conference today (June 7). Those two states also experienced the second and third biggest increases, more than 48 percent, in the period studied by the CDC. She said celebrity suicides also typically prompt an increase in calls to suicide help lines.

Guns are the most common method used for suicides in the US, accounting for about half of such deaths in 2016, followed by hanging and then poisoning (including through the use of opioids). About 45,000 people died from suicide in 2016 alone. And if someone is at immediate risk of harming him or herself, Kaslow says, it's best to seek care from an emergency department or primary care doctor. Significant changes in behavior or affect may be warning signs as well.

"Most people that either attempt or complete suicide, they aren't so much wanting to die as they want to be out of the pain they are in", Summers said. Suicide is very often an impulsive act, and a person who contemplates it can readily survive if no lethal weapon is at hand.

Keltz believes talking about mental health and suicide will help erase the stigma associated with it.

"Because of this Behavioral Health Task Force, looking at the greater good of Spartanburg, Cherokee and Union Counties, we are able to focus in and pull resources to understand what one agency is doing versus the other agency", he said.

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