Aug-22-2014

It’s OK to talk to your children about suicide. Here’s how:

It’s OK to talk to your children about suicide. Here’s how:

None of us want to talk about suicide, but lots of us are thinking about it. A 2009 study by SAMHSA found that 8.3 million adults in the United States had serious thoughts of suicide in the past year. That’s a lot of people–and it’s just for one year. The study also found that 2.3 million American adults made a plan for suicide in the past year. And 1.1 million actually attempted to kill themselves. Anyway you cut it, lots of people have suicide on their minds.

So, just like sex and drugs, suicide is something we need to be talking about with our kids. And just like sex and drugs, it’s probably something we should talk about early and often.

I don’t mean to say we need to bombard 5-year-old with the gory details of death by suicide, but emotions, mood and how they affect behavior are totally appropriate topics–even for our youngest kids.

Some tips for talking to your kids about suicide:

Keep it …[Read More]

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Aug-18-2014

Coping with conflicting emotions and grief after a suicide

Coping with conflicting emotions and grief after a suicide

Shock.  Disbelief.  Numbness.  Anguish.  Despair.  Loneliness.  Abandonment.  Grief.  Anger.  Guilt.  Emptiness.  Helplessness.  Devastation.

These are only a few of the intense emotions often experienced after a loved one, friend, colleague, or anyone you admire is lost through suicide.

You are not alone in experiencing a range of potentially conflicting emotions.  They may come and go in waves and change over time.

It is important to know that there is no “right way” to feel and these emotions are normal reactions to an unexpected, untimely death.  There is also no specified timeline to follow: People grieve in their own way and at their own pace.  You are not alone in the whirlwind of emotions that might be washing over you; most of us experience these intense feelings when we lose someone we care about.

Often, it is more difficult to talk about a loss when it occurs through suicide.  The situation might seem so overwhelming that we get consumed …[Read More]

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Aug-13-2014

Suicide facts and stats tell us what it is, but not why it happens

Suicide facts and stats tell us what it is, but not why it happens

Here are the demographic statistics for suicide: a 63-year-old white man living in the western United States exists is at highest risk.  Men kill themselves about four times as frequently as women. Of those who died by suicide in 2011, 78.5 percent were men and 21.5 percent were women.

These numbers do not tell us the WHY of suicide, just what is.

We know that depression is a huge risk for suicide. Alcohol or substance abuse elevates that risk even higher. Sixty percent of those who kill themselves suffered from major depression; if we add substance abuse, the figure rises to 75 percent.

It is a matter of course to implement risk-reducing protocols immediately for those at high-risk for a lethal medical event such as a heart attack or aneurysm.  Fortunately, we are long past the days of whispering about someone having cancer or another medical issue. Unfortunately, we are not yet fully at ease talking about mental illness and its treatment.

I do not know if Robin Williams …[Read More]

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Aug-12-2014

Trying to understand Robin Williams’ death and how to stop suicide

Trying to understand Robin Williams’ death and how to stop suicide

The world is reeling in shock from the death of Robin Williams. He was an amazing man–an icon. His popularity spanned generations. He had it all…talent, fame, money, a family and friends. Yes, he had it all…even depression and addictions.

The world is in mourning together. So many of us feel the sadness; as if the loss were intensely personal. We knew this man.

Or did we.

We are confused. We are angry. We have so many questions. Why would someone with so much want to die?

I have read a number of comments that talked about how Robin Williams was always in character. That he was actually very hard to really know. He fought battles most of us never knew.

But that is the kicker with depression. It has nothing to do with wealth or fame. It is a mental illness, and it can strike anyone.

The facts on suicide

Ongoing research suggests that alcohol and drug abuse are second only to depression and other mood disorders when it …[Read More]

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