Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


No April Joke: 20 Things You Should Know About Suicide

posted by Beyond Blue

No joke. More suicides occur the month of April than any other month of the year.
That doesn’t seem right, I know. Peach and azure tulips begin to open, the cherry blossoms, stunning with their pale pink flowers, perfume the neighborhood. The feeling of rebirth, of new beginnings, of hope is palpable in the air.
And that’s precisely why it happens. According to Howard Gabennesch, a psychologist with the University of Southern Indiana, the beginning of Spring is like the holidays in that it projects a happiness or joy that further alienates a severely depressed person. If no new beginning happens for someone trapped in the Black Hole–if a person fighting a mood disorder sees his friends and family enjoy the new weather and the baseball games and the cookouts and yet continues to feel hopeless–he can become even more despondent, turning to suicide as the last option to break free from negative thinking.
Another theory, which several doctors have explained to me, especially when I was emerging from the mass of black bile, is that with Spring flowers sometimes arrives a surge of energy. And with that little bit of zest comes the dangerous potential to use it toward suicide. When a depressive can’t get out of bed and can’t think past surviving the next ten minutes, she’s too lethargic to end her life. A spike of energy, then, delivers her into the danger zone, where she has the cognitive capacity and physical drive to plan and execute a suicidal.
Finally, yet another theory for the spike in suicides in April according to J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., M.D., professor of psychiatry and Director of the Affective Disorders Clinic at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, is the impact of a seasonal change in light on the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin, sleep and temperature regulators in the body, the endocrine and hormonal systems, as well as the production of testosterone and estrogen. Fluctuations in one or all of these can very easily mess with an affective mood disoder.
April is a good time, then, to remember these 20 things about suicide, which I’ve compiled from various sources on my very organized bookshelf!!:


1. The peak seasons for suicides are in early spring and early autumn. In the US, suicides for both men and women peak in April and May, while suicides in women alone show a rise in September and October.
2. One suicide can trigger other suicides. Like the flu, suicide can be contagious, encouraging copy cats.
3. More suicides occur between 4 AM and 7 AM, when depression is often at its worst.
4. More suicides occur on Monday.
5. Persons who experience mixed states–fluctuating between depression and mania or hypomania–are most at risk for suicide. (Again, because they have the energy, while a severely depressed person is too lethargic to end his life.)
6. Official statistics show that 30,000 Americans take their lives each year, but that number could be considerably higher since suicide often goes unreported; suicide takes more lives than traffic accidents, lung disease, or AIDS.
7. Worldwide there are more deaths due to suicide than to accidents, homicides, and war combined.
8. About 19 percent of young people (high school and college students) contemplate or attempt suicide each year. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in college students ages 20 to 24, and is the third-leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 24.
9. Approximately 6 percent of all people with major depression and about 15 percent of those treated for severe depression take their own lives.
10. The suicide rate among those with bipolar disorder may be highest among all psychiatric conditions, with one in 10 persons ending their lives, and as high as one in five for those persons with bipolar disorder who have experienced depression severe enough to require hospitalization.
11. According to the World Health Organization, suicide is the second-leading cause of death worldwide among females ages 15 to 44, and the fourth-leading cause of death among males ages 15 to 44, after traffic accidents, TB, and violence.
12. Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own lives, and 1,500 more attempt to do so. A person dies by suicide every 18 minutes in the U.S. An attempt is estimated to be made once every minute.
13. There are more than four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.
14. Firearms are the most frequent method of suicide among adults in the US.
15. Women most often overdose on pills to end their lives.
16. About two-thirds of the people who take their own lives suffer from major depression or bipolar disorder. Almost everyone else has depression, alcohol or substance abuse, or a delusional illness like schizophrenia.
17. Alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all suicide deaths.
18. Between 20 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Although the majority of people who die by suicides have not made a pervious attempt, a serious suicide attempt is a clear risk factor for suicide death.
19. In the year 2005 alone, at least 6,256 veterans committed suicide. According to a Veterans Affairs study published in October 2007 in the “American Journal of Public Health,” veterans took their lives at a rate of nearly 90 per 100,000 between 1999 and 2004.
20. Suicidal individuals often talk about suicide directly or indirectly using statements like, “My family would be better off with out me.” Sometimes they talk as if they are saying goodbye or going away, and may arrange to put their affairs in order. Other signs of contemplating suicide include giving away articles they value, paying off debts or changing a will.

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  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sam Gyura

    Mate, I’ve never read this from you before. Is it an old entry or new? Whatever, it is poignant and true. I’m sure the statistics in Australia would be the same (seasons reversed or upside down!). Bless ya xx

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Mary Anne Thompson

    T,
    You really hit the nail on the head with me when u mentioned April being a bad mth for suicides. I have been having alot of suicidal thinking over the past mths. On the day I was born my Father’s brother killed himself and my dad had to leave my Mother’s bedside delivering me to fly to Houston to be with his grieving Mother and arrange for his Brothers burial. My Grandmother always called me her “little Angel” growing up but it was many yrs later before they explained to me why. She gained a granddaughter the same day she lost her son.
    My bday is Income Tax day, April 15th which everyone grows anxious about every yr preparing their taxes. There is not much good said about that particular date. Then there is the sinking of the Titanic on the 15th. This yr with it being the 100th Anniversary it was all over tv, the news, in the theaters in 3D.Oh lets all relive all the people who died a horrible death on that morning in 1912.
    My bday this yr sucked. That is just the truth. I have been in bed with reoccuring UTI’s, passing blood in my urine, undergoing tests on my kidney’s. Living with the constant pain from my degenerative disc disease in my back. Being physically disabled is bad enough but when you add having mental illness to it….BINGO suicide looks like a nice alternative.
    And like in your article yes, pills would be the method. They have increased my anxiety medication to such a level all I can do is sleep and stay sedated when I take it anyway. People seem to prefer a quiet person over one who is crying, complaining, reaching out for attention and help.
    I had bought myself a new, leather journal for myself for my bday this yr. It was for me to record all my last wishes in, things to leave for my children/friends. I had already started making plans that I would wait until after 2 specific dates I had for Dr appointments one being with my therapist and psychiatrist which I had to cancel and reschedule for the end of the mth which is why I am here writing this post and not on the otherside of the pain.
    I got no phone calls from my daughters, cards or anything this yr. My own Mother whose Alzheimer’s is progressing quickly had my Sister who cares for her put a card in the mail to me but it has been 2 wks and I still have not rcv’d it. She did not call me on my bday. I slept, stayed in bed all day that day. Finally, in the evening I decided I would go buy myself a damn chocolate cake and some ice cream since no one else deemed a celebration of my life necessary. I drove my sons car to Kroger, went to the bakery picked up a $6 cake and cheap ice cream. Came back to the house and ate some. Happy Fuc*ing Bday to me I said. No candles to blow out, no bday wish this yr.
    APRIL has been a tough mth. I have had you in my thoughts and prayers as I look at both of your books which I rcv’d one 2 yrs a row on my bday in yrs past. I know YOU understand the pain like not many others. I have rcv’d papers from the Tax Assessors ofc regarding back taxes owed on the house I am living in which my Mother has a Life Estate to. It was her responsibility to pay the taxes on and she didn’t. Now it $12,000 isn’t paid they are going to cease the property and foreclose on the house. I got a recent letter that says because she has been out of the home for 2 yrs (I had to have my sister take her in to care for her with her Schizophrenia, Diabetes, Dementia and now Alzheimer’s after caring for her myself for 20 yrs) that her homestead exemption and tax deferral have been lifted. My sister who gets my Mother’s SS checks now refuses to help. None of my Mother’s biological family will help and I am living on $464 a mth in SSI. So if something is not done by April 30th regarding last yrs taxes $1,200 and arrangements made I will be homeless. PLEASE keep me in your prayers, to all the readers of Beyond Blue I can use all the emotional support and prayers I can get. That bottle of Klonopin is looking alot more inviting. Dying does not scare me, it is living in these times with the Obama Administration, all the new Executive Orders, the next war pending, FEMA camps already being set up for us, being under Martial Law and all the CRAP that is going on in these “last days” that I cannot handle. Living is something I have not been able to muster, I am merely existing, breathing, taking med’s, sleeping, eating and waiting……
    Thank you for your friendship, thanks for listening and for todays post. Talk about TIMING!!!!
    love, M.A.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Wendy Robinson

    Hi MA,

    I hear your anguish, through you words. The pain you feel is much worse than the words written on your blog. I know how much it hurts. Emotional pain can feel deeper than any physical pain. I am sorry that your birth was not the huge celebration it should have been when a baby is born, and the politics of society is out of your control. Your thoughts are weighing you down heavily and your sound like you cannot get out of the web of confusing and miserable thoughts that consume your mind. There is a way forward, a way out of your misery and pain. The way is the same way you got to were you are int he first place.
    (I am the mother of a beautiful 26 year old child who took
    their own life and whom I loved and still love with all my heart and sole). This happened 29th Sept 2010. (for reference see my site. brockwoolf.me

    “Do Not think about suicide anymore, keep thinking, ‘I want to live.” “I want to live!!!!” Just keep thinking these thoughts for now. The very gifts you were given at birth,
    the same gifts we all received” regardless of your family circumstances” are priceless, resilient and no one can take them away from you. Not even the Obama govt.

    The gift or “thought” (you can think) Consciousness (lights up your thoughts. Mind (intangible life force)

    Now when laying in bed you have the thought/energy to get up and go to the loo. Then you can do anything. Pickup the phone. Do one thing everyday to seek a happier life, no matter what. LIfes not too bad when you have the energy to drive up the shop and buy a cake. It’s not over until the natural event happens.

    You are a human being having a life experience, via your
    thoughts and consciousness. It’s up to you what actions you take. Forget society. Listen to your own wisdom! We all have it inside. Your healthy wisdom lead you to write this post.
    I am a stranger and I want you to live. It will be okay. Keep believing everything with be okay! You will be okay, you have to just THINK IT! write it down. remember it! You can do this, it’s not your fault you have fallen into depression, you just didn’t know your way out. Do not fall into memory. Do not replay the old records. Look towards new thoughts, new ideas. Ask for new options to help you.

    I have endured domestic violence, sexual abuse from ex husband, divorce, house loss, and my son committing suicide. I am living a happy life with an amazing husband.

    I Want you to live” I want you to want to live” Please just
    “Want to live”. Your natural mental health will rise up and peace will come, for you already have the gifts within you.

    You can do this!

    Love

    Wendy (Perth Australia)

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