“It’s time to break the stigma of mental illness.”

 

Pastors Rick and Kay Warren are the parents of a young man who suffered from mental illness and committed suicide. They are committed to destigmatizing this illness and helping other families cope.

 

Suicide seems random but is predictable. The majority of people who commit suicide have suffered from mental illness for a long time, and may even have had previous attempts;  unfortunately, acquaintances, friends, even family may not know this.

Here are some facts  about suicide

  • Most suicide victims in the United States are white men.
  • Guns are the most common means of suicide, followed by suffocation and poison.
  • There is often a family history of mental illness and suicide .
  • Major depression is the most common cause of suicide- 90% of victims.
  • Suicide may be triggered by recent or prolonged stress and loss, serious health problems and chronic pain.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who you think may be at risk of suicide. You may save that person’s life. Here are some resources to help you know what to do.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

National Alliance on Mental Health

Desiring God depression articles

Print resources (purchase through these affiliate links may pay a commission to this blog; thank you)

New Light on Depression

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Night Falls Fast; Understanding Suicide

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Finding Your Way after the Suicide of Someone You Love

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Loved Back to Life

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How you can save a life; two things to know this month

It seems every month, week, and day there is an event for awareness of some condition, disease, disability or other designated group. I can’t keep track of all of them, much less observe them all, but September is designated for awareness of two conditions that I want to mention.

Childhood cancer is ,fortunately, an uncommon disease compared to other conditions but still ranks within the top 5 causes of death in children and adolescents. Because so relatively few cases occur, there has not been as much research done and therefore not as many drugs or treatments available as other diseases.

One of the first patients I cared for when I started practicing over 30 years ago was a 5 year old boy who developed a brain tumor. With treatment he lived about a year following diagnosis, leaving his parents and siblings devastated. I am sad  to realize that he would now be a young man, probably with children of his own.

About 6 weeks ago,  my friend’s 13 year old son  was diagnosed with a form of leukemia. Both she and her husband are physicians so they are familiar with the seriousness of his illness, as well as the potential risks of the treatment. But they are fighting the disease with the best medical care available, as well as  many people’s prayers,and are hopeful for a full recovery.

Even When I’m Gone is a song written and recorded about Kendall, a 17 year old girl who died from leukemia. She dreamed of sharing the story of her struggle and helping others also afflicted. ( this is an affiliate link from which this blog can earn a commission from purchases)

September is also recognized as Suicide Prevention Month.

Leading causes of death in the United States by age, most recent statistics

As the chart illustrates, suicide ranks within the top ten causes of death for everyone except the youngest and the oldest of us. And like other forms of violence, suicide should be preventable.

The Veteran’s Administration has made the prevention of veteran suicide a priority. It is a tragedy that any person would cause their own death. And it is hard to understand how someone who has survived the rigors of military training and service would later want to take their own life.

My husband, a VietNam veteran, recently reached out to a young veteran whose family is concerned. While serving in Afghanistan, this soldier’s team was ambushed; one soldier was blown apart by an IED (improvised explosive device). The veteran finds it hard to talk about what happened, and has become withdrawn. My husband shared his traumatic experience in VietNam and encouraged the ex-soldier to find someone to talk to and process the feelings about what happened. And we are praying for peace and healing also.

If you know a veteran, follow this link to learn how you can recognize behavior that might lead to suicide and how you can help.

If you are a veteran, I thank you for serving our country and urge you to receive the help that you gave us; call the crisis line at 1-800-272-8255, press 1 .

Contact the veterans' crisis line for help.

Contact the veterans’ crisis line for help.

This is a short post so I encourage you to visit the links which have information worth your time. And please share what you learn on your blogs, social media and email. Let’s all be “aware”- you may save a life.