Facts about Suicide and Depression

Major depression, left unchecked and untreated can end in suicide.

Suicide is one of the most tragic things in our society.  According to the University of Washington School of Social Work, nearly 90% of those who commit suicide have a mental illness.  Many of those also experience undiagnosed, under-treated, or untreated mental health issues related to depression that could be alleviated with better treatment.

Risk factors for suicide includes those who have been recently discharged from a hospital, those who have a family history of suicide, and those who suffer from depression while also experiencing other mental illnesses such as alcoholism, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress, schizophrenia, and bipolar.

Statistics About Suicide

Statistically, males who are ages 30 – 59 have the highest rates of suicide.  The suicide rate for Veterans is nearly double that of civilians.  A 2013 study by the DVA established the oft-quoted finding that 22 veterans commit suicide each day.  However, 15 of those 22 veteran suicides occur among those who are ages 50 and older (A Misunderstood Statistic: LA Times).  For these older veterans, the cause of suicide isn’t always directly connected to Post Traumatic Stress, but life circumstances, depression, and other mental health problems.

Rather than drumming home the bad news, we want to focus on what can be done to help.  Friends and family members can help those who are struggling with depression and suicide ideation to seek treatment.  According to the National Alliance for Mental Illness, asking a loved one about suicide and encouraging them to seek treatment does not increase the risk of suicide, but can be helpful in suicide prevention. (Mental Illnesses: Suicide)  Encourage and partner with those who may be at risk for suicide to adopt a regular routine of coping skills and engagement with the community.  Remember that the earlier someone receives the care that they need, the quicker and more cost-effective the treatment.

When having a conversation about suicide and depression, remember to be non-judgmental.  Don’t act shocked or surprised but listen with empathy, putting yourself in their shoes.  You don’t have to understand, but you do have to listen with an open mind.  Be direct.  By doing so, you are showing that you’re not afraid of bringing up hard conversations and that you’re a safe person in which to confide.

If you or a loved one is experiencing untreated depression or contemplating suicide, please give us a call at (225) 751-5412.  Below are resources for Veterans and civilians for suicide support.

DVA 24-7 hotline DVA to receive confidential suicide support 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1.

Council on Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number 1-800-273-8255