The Correlation Of Suicide And Depression

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'How are you? Really?' How often do we take the time to check on our friends and family? Or even the classmate that sits quietly next to you each day? Every twelve minutes there is one death by suicide in the US. Suicide takes the lives of over 44,965 Americans every year. The leading cause of suicide is mental illness, the most common one being depression. I think the biggest question is how can we as a society come together to make it easier for that simple question, 'how are you really?' to be answered.

80% - 90% of people that seek help for their depression are treated successfully with therapy and/or medication. Sadly, a study by the World Health Organization found that between 30% - 80% of people with mental health issues dont seek treatment. So why don't people seek help? Well, there are many reasons people dont reach out for help, one being they're afraid to be stigmatized if they admit that they need help. For some its even denial. Admitting to themselves they have mental illness and seeking help are too much to comprehend, or if they recognize the problem at all, they come up with reasons they don't need help. For others their mental illness itself can make it feel impossible to reach out to others. Then, theres the problem with availability, and if there is availability, paying for the treatment. So what can we do to help with suicide levels being at their highest and still rising? Well first off we can start by learning the warning signs of suicide and symptoms of depression.

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The first thing you need to know is that depression is different for everyone. What symptoms one person may have and their experiences may be completely different from the next person. But, there are some common physical and emotional signs you can still look out for. Some physical signs are, lack of energy or feeling tired all the time, restlessness and agitation, having difficulty sleeping, poor appetite, smoking and/or drinking more than usual, using drugs, unexplained physical aches and pains and self harming. The most common emotional signs of depression are feeling sad and in low spirits all the time, crying a lot, having no interest in anything, not getting any pleasure out of life, feeling anxious all the time, having difficulty concentrating or remembering things, plus difficulty in making decisions, low self-confidence and self-esteem, withdrawing from family and friends, being more irritable and impatient that usual, feeling helpless/hopeless and feeling guilty as if everything that goes wrong is their fault. If someone you know shows several of these signs they may be depressed. The first step you can take to helping them is try to get them or open up and talk to you about how they feel, but keep in mind they may not have spoken to anyone about their feelings yet. You also need to be careful about how you approach the subject. Telling them to simply 'cheer up' or 'pull yourself together' is never going to be helpful. Sometimes the best thing you can do for them is to just listen. Letting them get everything off their chest and being supportive can be more valuable than you know. If after they're done talking to you, you think they need more professional help, encourage them to see their doctor who can offer medical treatment or reccomend a local support group.

The warning signs for suicide you can look out for are; talking about wanting to die or kill oneself, looking for a way to kill oneself, talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose, talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain, talking about being a burden to others, increasing the use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious, agitated, or reckless, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing or feeling isolate, showing rage or talking about seeking revenge, and displaying extreme mood swings. The number one thing you can do if you suspect someone you know is suicidal is to speak up. If you spot the warning signs but you're not sure, ask them. Some ways you can start a conversation about suicide are telling them you've been concerned about them lately, or telling them you've noticed some changes in them and were wondering if they were doing alright. Ask them when they began to feel that way, or if something happened to make them feel the way they do. Ask how to support them and if they've thought about getting help. Let them know that they aren't alone, and even if they dont believe it now, the way they're feeling will change. That there are people who care about them and want to help. Just be yourself when talking to them. Take them seriously. Some things to avoid when talking to a suicidal person are; arguing with them, acting shocked, promising confidentiality, offering to fix thier problems and most importantly, blaming yourself. You can't fix someone's depression. If someone you know is threatening to hurt/kill themself dont hesitate to call 911 or the emergency service in your country. See something, say something, save a life.

Raising awareness about suicide and mental illness are the first steps we as a society can take to breaking the stigma and helping more people come forward. Some ways to raise awareness are firstly, educating yourself on the signs and symptoms and where to receive help in in your area. If you've ever struggled with mental illness, share your story with others. Your story could encourage them to ask for help. You can write to your local government leaders to support mental health legislation, educate yourself and get involved. Encourage schools to start a suicide prevention program. Talk about mental health with your friends and family, even children. Depression can even affect children in elementary school, so don't assume kids are too young to understand. You can memorize the suicide prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) which is available 24/7. You can call for advice for you or a friend. Watch out for bullying, be aware of destructive behavior and report it to a trusted adult. Check in on your loved ones that are dealing with mental illness. Always be ready to listen, encourage and never judge. Educate people on ways to seek help such as, private therapists that will work on a sliding scale for those without insurance seeking help, applying for medicaid for free therapy, or even seeking counseling within school or church. Together we can break the stigma.

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The Correlation Of Suicide And Depression. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 22, 2024, from
“The Correlation Of Suicide And Depression.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
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