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Suicide: The 10th Leading Cause of Death

suicide

Nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016

What are you doing in the next hour? Whatever it is, note that more than 5 people will die as a result of suicide. Firearms deliver the deadly blow for more than half of all suicides. For every death by suicide, there will be 25 attempts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 45,000 Americans age 10 or older died by suicide in 2016. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and is one of three leading causes that are on the rise. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die by suicide. White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016. The suicide rate is highest during middle age, particularly among white males.

I have my own story about suicide. Depression drove me to numerous attempts during my teen and young adult years. My last attempt was over 30 years ago. I nearly died from that attempt.

I used to have a lot of shame about my history of suicide. However, now I use the experience as a way to bring greater awareness to this preventable tragedy. I know that I was sick. I was one of the lucky ones, not only to survive, but to get genuine help for my mental illness.

For the last 30 years, I’ve been making up for lost time. I love being alive. I savor nearly every moment, and when I lose my way, all I have to do is think back to my misery, give thanks for second chances, and relish this life I have.

Last Saturday I participated in a walk to raise awareness about suicide. Sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide, the Walk to Fight Suicide was a huge success. However, I was aware that many of the people who participated were there in memory of those who died. I was so grateful that my family and friends did not have to participate in my memory.

What you can do: Be prepared. Here is information I hope you will never need, but if you do, it’s a good place to start.   Please keep this information on your phone or some other convenient place. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

 

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