Approximately 42,773 Americans die each year by a seemingly unlikely cause. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the nation. This comes as a surprise to many people, as they believe that heart disease and cancer are the only things that affect a lot of people. They do rank as number one and two on the leading causes of death in the US, but suicide is a risk growing at formidable rates. Between the years 1999 and 2014, the age-adjusted suicide rate in the U.S. rose 24% from 10.5 to 13.0 deaths per 100,000 population.
The 10th leading cause of death is suicide, however the leading cause of suicide is untreated depression. According to a series of surveys conducted between 2001 and 2003 with 15,762 participants, about 50% of Americans living with the condition don’t receive treatment for major depressive disorder. About 14.8 million American adults have major depressive disorder. This means that about 7.4 million Americans are at extremely high risks for suicide.
Kristin Holland, a behavioral scientist in the CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention Surveillance, said, “Suicide is not just a mental health issue — it is a public health issue, and it is preventable”. People don’t search for help in order to avoid public stigma in fear of being bracketed with unfavorable stereotypes. Mental illness, not being given the care and compassion it deserves, is the cause of the rising suicide rates to some experts. Negative perceptions many times inhibit people from seeking guidance.
“It’s important to know that help is available,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford Health Care, “If it were more accepted, I believe we’d have fewer suicides. We need to talk about it more and support each other more.”
If you — or someone you know — are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HELLO to 741-741.
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