I’ve spoken about my lifelong struggle with depression before, so I should have known that today was World Suicide Prevention Day, but I didn’t. Thanks to Soonergrunt over at Balloon Juice, now I DO know and so do you. If you feel compelled, reach out and do something to help improve awareness, education and prevention wherever you are in the world. Here are some things to ponder in the meantime.
- “With just a few exceptions, the majority of gun deaths in the United States have been self-inflicted every year since at least 1920.” from a Boston Globe article
- There is a theory out there (that I agree with) that men often go undiagnosed because the diagnostic checklist is biased toward symptoms that women exhibit but not men. For example, one symptom is “uncontrollable crying”–something that American men rarely do. A more common symptom for them would be “self-destructive behavior” such as binge drinking, engaging in risky behavior like starting fights with strangers, etc. from “The Mismeasure of Women” by Carol Tavris
- It’s pretty much accepted that the rate of suicide among U.S. military personnel has been rising and far greater than it is in the general population. What is new is that they’re not sure why since it doesn’t seem to be linked to deployment (which is what everyone previously assumed was a huge factor). Is it something about the military lifestyle or is it about the kind of people the military attracts or the fact they are more likely to have access to lethal means than the average American has….or all of the above?
- The Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention has chosen kites to be its symbol. They have a lovely explanation for why they chose the kite and I encourage you to read it on their website.
- The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is an American organization with chapters all over the U.S. that offers resources for suicide prevention and assistance for those who have lost loved ones.
- There is also the IASP, the International Association for Suicide Prevention, for my friends overseas.
Note: And yes I see the irony of the first bullet and my post about shooting my firearm yesterday. I’m a responsible gun owner and that includes the understanding that if I ever suffer a serious bout of depression the revolver will be the first thing to go. Thankfully, I haven’t had a serious crisis in about 4 or 5 years.