Suicide and Its Survivors
The most recent data from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that over 48,000 Americans die from suicide in the U.S., making it the 9th leading cause of death for ages 10–64 in our country. It accounts for one death every 11 minutes in the U.S.
Surviving an attempt
Those who have attempted suicide describe being stuck in a state of transition. After making an attempt to end their life, they must cope with the aftereffects.
Attempt survivors describe the importance of family involvement in one’s recovery. However, family members might be uncertain about what to say, how to behave or experience compassion fatigue after hearing a loved one talk about suicide or make multiple attempts. There are various evidence-based interventions that can effectively address suicidal thoughts, like cognitive behavioral therapy, medication and mindfulness techniques.
“This new number of up to 135 people affected by one suicide loss shows that far more people may need grief supports for after a suicide than previously thought.”Centre for Suicide Prevention
Effect on loved ones
One loss of life by suicide can affect up to 135 people. These suicide survivors are at increased risk for depression, anxiety and suicidal behaviors of their own. They also have an increased likelihood to experience what is called complicated grief—an ongoing, heightened state of mourning that prevents healing.
Barriers to seeking help, both for suicide survivors and suicide attempt survivors, have improved in the recent past and have been impacted greatly by health care technology. With ease and reach of access, those in need of immediate care can connect with support when it is critically needed.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has designated 9-8-8 as the three-digit code that will route individuals in need to trained counselors who are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network.
Sources: SAVE, JAMA Network, U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, Today, NIH National
Library of Medicine, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline