HOLMDEL, NJ: It is challenging to find a family who has not been touched in some way by the tragedy of suicide. In Monmouth County youth suicide is an epidemic. When one would guess what the 2nd leading cause of death is for young people in the U.S. ages 15-34, most people are shocked to hear that the answer is death by suicide.  Tragically, that is a fact. Almost 45,000 Americans die every year by suicide.  Monmouth County has the highest rate of youth suicide in New Jersey. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), on average there are 121 suicides a day—16 of them a day are youths in America. On top of that, data suggests that for every life lost by suicide there are on the average 25 who survive an attempt. According to a report recently released by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the suicide rate among teenage girls continues to rise and hit a 40-year high in 2015, with suicide rates doubling among girls and rising 30 percent among teen boys and young men.  Many experts on the topic agree that suicide in many cases can be preventable with awareness and intervention, beginning as early as middle school--yes middle school.  The suicide rate among children between the ages of 10-14 doubled between 2007-2014, according to a study released by the CDC in 2017. This marked the first time that suicide surpassed car accidents as a cause of death for that age group.

September 9th, through Saturday September 15th, is National Suicide Prevention Week, implemented to raise awareness that suicide is preventable, improve education about mental health and suicide, and to decrease the stigmatization regarding the struggles that lead to suicide.  The more open people are to talking about their actual experiences of depression, anxiety or life pressures, the more people who are at risk for suicide can get the support they need.

According to the CDC, there is a suicide every 13 minutes in the United States. Sometimes there are obvious warning signs, diagnosed depression, substance abuse, or a person may even verbalize that they don’t want to live, but in many cases suicide is like a thief in the night with no obvious warning signs, even to very close loved ones of the victim.  It’s not unusual that in addition to total devastation, loved ones left behind are completely shocked. The truth is suicide does not discriminate. According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), people of all genders, ages and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide. From very social and seemingly happy star athletes to those who are visibly suffering, or someone known to be bullied by others, to high achievers-- suicide does not discriminate.  According to the Nation's largest Analysis of Veteran Suicide conducted in 2016, Veterans account for 18 percent of all adult suicides, and approximately 20 suicides a day. In this report VA Under Secretary for Health, Dr. David J. Shulkin says, "One veteran suicide is one too many....we as a nation must focus on bringing the number of Veteran suicides to zero."  According to The New England Journal of Medicine, approximately one-third of all suicide attempts are impulsive acts.  There are many who survive a suicide attempt who recall regretting their impulsive decision instantly. They were fortunate enough to live through the attempt to be able to talk about it.  

Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

The American Foundation for the Prevention of Suicide has a campaign to do just that: Talk about it, seize the awkward. "Nobody likes an awkward silence. In fact, we usually try to avoid it. But sometimes, an awkward silence can be a good time to check in with a friend about their mental health." WATCH THIS PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE VIDEO BELOW AND REMEMBER TO START THE CONVERSATION: 

Look for the warning signs. According to the AFPS: 

Something to look out for when concerned that a person may be suicidal is a change in behavior or the presence of entirely new behaviors. This is of sharpest concern if the new or changed behavior is related to a painful event, loss, or change. Most people who take their lives exhibit one or more warning signs, either through what they say or what they do.

Talk

If a person talks about:

Killing themselves
Feeling hopeless
Having no reason to live
Being a burden to others
Feeling trapped
Unbearable pain

Behavior

Behaviors that may signal risk, especially if related to a painful event, loss or change:

Increased use of alcohol or drugs
Looking for a way to end their lives, such as searching online for methods
Withdrawing from activities
Isolating from family and friends
Sleeping too much or too little
Visiting or calling people to say goodbye
Giving away prized possessions
Aggression
Fatigue

Mood

People who are considering suicide often display one or more of the following moods:

Depression
Anxiety
Loss of interest
Irritability
Humiliation/Shame
Agitation/Anger
Relief/Sudden Improvement

SAY SOMETHING, YOU COULD SAVE A LIFE.

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.