According to the Center for Disease Control, there were over 41,000 suicides in 2013. Suicide is a more frequent cause of death than homicide! And it is the second leading cause of death for 15 to 24 year olds. So if you thought your teenager’s depression was just a funk, it may be time to re-evaluate that.
In addition to those who actually kill themselves, about another quarter of a million people attempt suicide and survive.
Males are 4 times more likely to use a lethal suicide method such as hanging or a firearm, while females tend to use less lethal methods and survive suicide attempts more often.
What are Suicidal Thoughts
While suicide is a very serious health and national problem that requires our attention, an even less public reality is that many of us have had suicidal thoughts at one point or another in our lives. Often, people are reluctant to talk about their feelings of wanting to die because they are afraid to be judged and that others will think they are “crazy”. But in fact, having suicidal thoughts and feelings is fairly common and therapy can help with this.
Why do People Commit Suicide
Not all people who have thoughts of suicide end up acting on those thoughts. But for those who do, generally there is deep emotional pain combined with a belief that things will never improve. This is not true of course, but it is the delusion that truly suicidal individuals believe.
How to Help a Suicidal Friend
There are several things you can do to help a friend who feels suicidal:
- Learn active listening and empathy skills, and be available to listen to their thoughts and feelings without judging;
- Remind your friend that life is a long journey and things can absolutely get better even if it doesn’t seem like it at the moment;
- Encourage your friend to call a suicide hotline;
- Encourage your friend to get counseling.
Crisis Hotline and Other Resources
Broward County Mobile Crisis, Crisis Hotline, and Walk-in Crisis Center for Adults: 954.463.0911
Broward County Mobile Crisis, Crisis Hotline, and Walk-in Crisis Center for Youth: 954.677.3113
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1 (800) 273-8255
Grief and Bereavement When a Suicide Occurs
When someone commits suicide, it can be very confusing and overwhelming for the family members and loved ones left behind. Therapy is often necessary to help those left behind understand why their loved one took this action. It can be difficult to resolve feelings of grief and anger without professional help. It is normal to have mixed emotions when someone you care about commits suicide.
Children and teenagers are particularly vulnerable when a parent commits suicide. In my opinion, it is absolutely necessary for those children to receive specialized counseling. Without it, there is lasting psychological damage. Counseling may not completely prevent this, but it should help lessen some of the impact.
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Dr. Chantal Gagnon
Dr. Chantal Marie Gagnon, Ph.D., LMHC is a licensed psychotherapist, relationship counselor, and life coach in Plantation, Florida. Dr. Gagnon provides individual therapy, family counseling services, and couples therapy in her Plantation, FL office. Coaching services are available nationwide.
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