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Suicide Essay, Research Paper


Over 23,000 people commit suicide in the United States

every year.(Suicide Facts) Among these people are the young

and the old, the sick, and the well. There is not just one

type of person that will do such a thing, but all people. To

help prevent suicide education and easy access to

information is key. In order to even start to prevent

suicide one must know the statistics, causes- such as

depression, alcohol ,and the availability of fire arms-

warning signals, and how to help and cope when someone you

know is contemplating suicide. Prevention of this horrible

crisis is possible.

Due to the stigma associated with suicide, available

statistics may well underestimate the problem. Nevertheless,

these figures do underscore the urgent need to seek a

solution to the suicide epidemic among people. (San Pedro)

Suicide accounts for 1.4% of all deaths, and is the ninth

leading cause of death in the United States. To get a

picture of how many people this truly is just think of this.

A person commits suicide every fifteen minutes, and an

attempt is made about once every minute.(Suicide Facts) Both

adults and youth are part of the attempts and sad successes.

Often suicide is thought of as a young crisis, but

suicide is very prominent in the adult community as well.

Suicide rates for men peak after the age of 65. Women have a

double peak in their suicide rate, once between the ages of

40-54 years old, and then again after the age of 75. The

highest suicide rates are found among white males over the

age of 50, which represents 10% of the American population,

and 33% of all suicides. After a steady decrease from 1950-

1980 in the suicide rate of those over 65, suicide in that

age group is again on the rise. (Suicide Facts) Adolescent

suicide is also on the rise.

The suicide rate for white males ages 15-24 has tripled

since 1950, and the suicide rate for white females has more

than doubled. Suicide is the second leading cause of death

among college students, the 3rd leading cause of death among

those 15-24, and fourth leading cause among children 10-14

years old. In the past fifteen years the suicide rates for

young black males has risen by more than two-thirds. The

suicide rate for children 10-14 has more than doubled.

Another eye opening statistic is that teenage males commit

suicide more than females by a 5:1 ratio. A statistic that

truly shows that prevention is necessary is that 26-33% of

teenage suicide victims have made previous suicide attempts.

(Suicide facts) In order to prevent this, one must know what

would convince a person to take their own life.

There is not one main reason people take their lives.

They take it for many different reasons. Some are more

easily detected than others. Blocked communication is a

problem seen as a factor in suicide. Many suicide victims

feel they can not talk to anyone about their problems, or

have no one to comfort or advise them. Also many

individuals feel they can not show their anger or pain. They

keep their emotions inside and the strength of these

emotions gets built up. These individuals may have been seen

as the ?perfect? ones. They cut off their needs, emotions

and also personalities, thus cutting off their life

physiologically so death itself isn?t as scary as it may be

to others. Loss is a major factor in suicides. Whenever one

feels a loss it often leaves them feeling empty and lonely.

Loss ranges from maybe parents going back to work full time,

to divorce, to even a death of a friend or relative. When

people are put up on a pedestal by family, friends, and even

society they often have trouble coping and don?t think that

they can live up to others expectations. They feel insecure

and often alone. They often think their only escape is

suicide. (Leder) Over 60% of all people who commit suicide

suffer from major depression. Fifteen percent of the United

States population will suffer from clinical depression

sometime in their lifetime, and 30% of them will attempt

suicide, and half will succeed. Alcoholism is another major

factor in suicide. In 30% of suicides alcoholism is a

factor. Ninety-six percent of alcoholics will continue their

substance abuse until they commit suicide. Of all the

victims of suicide 60% of them will do so with a firearm.

Eighty-three percent of all gun related deaths in homes in

the United States are suicides, and often by someone other

than the gun owner. (Suicide Facts) Knowing issues that

might cause someone to contemplate suicide is just one of

the steps in identifying warning signs.

There are eight general warning signs that reflect

where trouble may be beginning in suicidal victims. A

previous suicide attempt is a definite indication that

something is wrong and could happen again. When one begins

to concentrate on thoughts of death, or begins to talk of

suicide, you may want to make sure to keep a watch on that

person. A drastic change in personality or mood could be a

sign of intense emotional pain. This is not always easy to

detect in teens as much because they are involved in such an

intense emotional change as it is. People contemplating

suicide sometimes have a major change in eating and sleeping

patterns. Maybe someone who usually stays up late may start

sleeping often or someone else doesn?t seem to be eating

much. Many suicidal people withdraw themselves from

friendships and activities. This may show that they feel

they no longer have the energy or the desire to participate.

Suicide victims are often known for taking unusual risks

before attempting suicide. This signals that he or she holds

little regard for life. Substance abuse by suicidal victims

is often a last attempt to feel good or different. And

finally ?final arrangements? are made. The giving away of

prized possessions, making a will, making peace with friends

are all sure signs that someone is planning to end their

life. (Handwerk) After detecting a friend or relative in

trouble helping them is imperative.

When someone is suicidal they often just need someone

to listen to them. Being a good listener doesn?t mean trying

to solve the person?s problem or making them get rid of

their bad feelings. The listener shouldn?t make the person

feel guilty, or that they are their own problem, or tell

them what to do. You must show you are listening by eye

contact, body language, and not pulling away. A good way to

help is by mirroring your friends feeling, by restating what

they say to you in order for them to clarify. When a friend

won?t talk to you about what is going on, try to use their

body language to make a guess on what they are thinking. An

example of this is when someone is grinding their teeth, you

may suggest ?you seem angry?. Try not to ask questions that

have yes or no answers or that may cause the person to

become defensive. Try to ask open ended question that start

with such words as where, when, who, what, which or how.

Once you?ve taken into consideration your friends nonverbal

messages and have a few good questions answered, try

exploring ways of solving your friends problem. If you

believe the situation is more than you can handle then

suggest they talk to someone else who can help them

more.(Leder) After you?ve made headway with helping your

friend make sure that you don?t give up on them, and make

sure they get help. Without the proper help they need it may

be easy for them to relapse without you even noticing. Its

always good to know you have a friend!

Prevention of suicide starts with us, the friends and

families of these victims. You must encourage these suicidal

people to talk about their problems and get help. Prevention

should also include social policy that limits access to

firearms, alcohol, as well as responsible portrayal and

coverage of suicide in the media. (Suicide Facts.) If only

other suicide victims had had someone to talk to, someone to

be their friend, then maybe the thousands that have died

would still be alive today.

Works Cited

Curran, D. Adolescent Suicidal Behavior. New York:

Hemisphere Publishing Corporation, 1987.

Handwerk, S., Kolehmaninen, J. Teen Suicide. Minneapolis;

Lerner Publications Company, 1986.

Leder, J. Dead Serious. New York; Atheneum, 1987.

Long, R. Suicide. New York; The H.W. Wilson Company, 1995.

San Pedro Youth Coalition (1996) n.pag, Online Internet. 15

October 1998 Available http://www.sanpedro.com/spyc/

Suicide Facts (1996) n.pag, Online Internet. 29 September

1998 Available http://www.afsp.org/suicide/suicide.html

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