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Suicide - the Number 1 Killer

I saw something that came across my facebook the other day.

Suicide is the number one killer in the world.

WHAT.

Okay so part of me isn’t surprised, because this happens more frequently than people know.  But number one???? WOW.

The saddest part about this statistic is that it may be the number one killer, but it is also one of the least talked about killers.  Well, I guess it all depends on the culture as well.  I can’t speak specifically on say Asia or part of Europe, but I can say that from reading, it is quite taboo and rarely talked about on that side of the world.

I find that here in North America, it is talked about AFTER the death.   Too many individuals are scared to talk, mental illness or not.  The stigma is frightening.  But when the suicide happens, people wish they had helped or are more willing to help out in the future.  Now I’m not putting blame on anyway, I’m just saying that this needs to change.

If you Google suicide being the number one killer, tons of articles come up.

  • “Suicide becoming number 1 killer in India”
  • “Suicide biggest killer of teenage girls” (U.K.)
  • “Suicide now America’s leading cause of death”
  • “Suicide remains the most common cause of death of men under 35”

I’m part of a page on Facebook called “Families of the RCMP for PTSD.”  As of last Thursday, 28 first responders have commit suicide in Canada alone.  Twenty-eight.  That’s 4 each month.  In Canada.

According to the World Health Organization, there is a suicide every 40 seconds in the world.  Every 40 seconds.

This breaks my heart.

What can we do?  How can we help?

Well of course each situation is different.  PTSD, Depression, Bipolar….maybe things like country of residence, jobs etc. are all reasons suicide may happen.

But there are common things you can do to help. 

Talk.  That’s the one I personally believe in.  There has been so much improvement around the stigma in the last 10 years, but we’re nowhere near where we need to be.  The more we talk, the more individuals are willing to come forward and get the help they need.

If someone is speaking about suicide, offer help and assistance.

  • “I’ve noticed some differences in you.  What can I do to help?”
  • “I’m concerned about you.  How can I help?”

Showing interest in someone can be really valuable to a person who is feeling suicidal.  Be sympathetic and non-judgmental.  Really listen with compassion and patience. 

It is a great help to a suicidal individual to have support.  Offer to call professional help and follow-up on treatment.

To learn more about helping someone you feel is a suicide risk, check out http://www.helpguide.org/articles/suicide-prevention/suicide-prevention-helping-someone-who-is-suicidal.htm