Suicide & Suicidal Behavior
Hopeless, worthless, no other solution to life's problems - these are thoughts that lead to suicide. A suicidal person feels that there is no other answer to their problems. If anyone you know is talking about suicide, take it seriously. While fleeting thoughts are common, anyone with a suicide plan needs help. Don't ignore suicidal behavior. Encourage them to see a doctor - someone who can help them with their problems.
1 AnswerAlthough two-thirds of people who die by suicide have a mental disorder, a common mistaken belief is that suicide cannot be prevented unless the mental illness is cured. The presumed association of "mental illness, therefore suicide, and nothing can be done about it" has no basis in fact. Suicide is preventable in spite of a mental illness. In fact, most individuals with mental illnesses do not contemplate or attempt suicide.
1 AnswerAlthough people may think of suicide primarily as a problem in young people, this misperception is untrue around the globe. Mental disorders and suicide risk occur throughout the life span, in childhood and adolescence, and among college students and other young adults, adults, and elderly persons. Although some regional variations exist, suicide rates worldwide increase with age, and the elderly have the highest suicide rates.
1 AnswerAccording to World Health Organization (WHO) data, Canada's overall suicide rate is 15 per 100,000 people, although studies show higher rates for specific populations. For example, among Inuit peoples in northern Canada, the suicide rate is 60-75 per 100,000 people. Other populations at risk for suicide include youth, inmates in correctional facilities, people with mental illnesses, and persons who previously have attempted suicide Men take their lives at a rate four times greater than do women.
1 AnswerAmong young and middle-aged people, especially men, suicide currently is a leading cause of death. Youth suicide is a particular European problem. A high correlation exists between suicide and alcohol. Binge drinking in young people is another area of high correlation with suicide, and in this trend women are catching up to their male counterparts. Nevertheless, elderly persons have the highest suicide rates in Europe.
The European Union reports that, on average, men ages 20-44 are four times more likely than women to die by suicide. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in this age group, after transport accidents. The three Baltic States reported the highest rates of suicide in this age group among men: Lithuania, 90 deaths per 100,000; Estonia, 55 deaths; and Latvia, 54 deaths. Lithuanian women in this age group had the highest rate of suicide, at 12 deaths per 100,000.
1 AnswerIn Pakistan and other Asian Muslim countries, which have low suicide rates, data show that suicidal ideation appears at a high level. Religious strictures may account for this dichotomy. Depression as a cause of suicide has limited validity in Asia, particularly because most depression identified is mild to moderate, rather than chronic, depressive illness. In Asia the majority of suicides occur at earlier ages, while the severity of depression increases as years go by.
Substance abuse plays a large role in suicide, nearly equal to that of depression at almost 35 percent, except in China because of lack of availability. Availability of alcohol is gradually increasing, however, as is alcoholism. Social drinking is not a way of life in Asian countries, and most suicides related to alcoholism occur in later years after a minimum of ten years of severe dependence. Schizophrenia accounts for only 4-7 percent of persons with mental disorders who die by suicide, while personality disorders are common. In many cases of males with paranoid schizophrenia who suspect their wives' fidelity, their wives take their own lives; research shows that desertion or separation from one's husband creates more stigma than mental illness.
1 AnswerAs Western-style individualism has developed, South Africa has suffered from breakdowns in traditional communal systems, extended families, and community networks. Migration also is an issue in the region. The return of families from exile for political reasons creates adjustment and acceptance difficulties among foreign-born children. A major increase in suicide in Black communities has occurred, especially among youth in Soweto. South African police officers experience high rates of trauma and also of suicide; with no supports in place to address mental health issues, officers are unable to debrief. Family murder-suicides are a South African phenomenon, predominantly in the white community.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is poorly researched, but its highest incidence occurs among persons ages 25-29. A causal link exists between receiving positive results of HIV/AIDS infection and suicide, particularly in this age group. In HIV/AIDS-related suicides, five times more males take their lives than females, while three times more females than males attempt suicide. Depression is implicated in about 80 percent of HIV/AIDS-related suicides. Substance abuse is a significant component of the HIV/AIDS pandemic. South Africa also sees suicide related to relationship problems and depression, adjustment disorders and depression, major depressive disorders, and inadequate access to health care.
1 AnswerSuicide is shrouded in secrecy and attracts stigma in most African countries. Most African countries do not report data on suicides to the World Health Organization. African authorities often record suicide as "death by unnatural causes," creating difficulty in compiling accurate statistics. Ostracization of individuals and families is common, which explains in part why suicide often is hidden. On many African countries' statutes, suicide is a criminal act. African nations' limited mental health specialists and inadequate mental health infrastructure are compounded by underfunding of research and the official system for reporting deaths. South Africa produces few, but good, studies of suicide.
1 AnswerSuicide methods vary from region to region. In the United States, for example, handguns are the means of choice in 61 percent of suicides. Pesticides account for 58 percent of suicide deaths in China, and 48 percent of suicides in Canada result from hanging.
1 AnswerThe following statistics illustrate the extent of the global problem on suicide:
- One million suicides per year, every year
- Suicide attempts amounting to 10-20 times as many suicides
- Five to six people estimated to be affected directly by each suicidal person's behavior
- Strong multiplier effect leading to 100-120 million people impacted by suicide each year
- More suicides each year than deaths by war and homicides combined
- Significant source of economic loss where suicide death and attempts affect productive life years
3 AnswersWith effective care and treatment for bipolar disorder, the risk of suicide can be reduced. To reduce the chance of suicide, the treatment plan for those with Bipolar Disorder and comorbid substance abuse should include access to and ongoing relationships with healthcare professionals, strong connections to family and community support groups, restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide, and skills in problem solving and conflict resolution. All of these are important components in reducing the risk of suicide.