Monday Maundering – Suicide

I’ve been thinking a lot about mental health issues lately, especially since there is literally no one within a 60 mile radius that can help me regulate and prescribe my bipolar meds. There is no one locally and I’ve called the nearest two decent sized cities and found no one there either. So now I’m waiting for the local area to hire someone new so I can get the help I need.

One of the things on my mind has been suicide. No, not me wanting to commit suicide. I tried that three years ago. I almost succeeded too. I was at the end of my rope. My meds weren’t working, I was living in a toxic environment, and nothing seemed to be going right in my life. I was done. So I took what was left of my klonopin (anti-anxiety med). That was about half a bottle. I don’t remember the exact dosage.

Unlike many of those who attempt to commit suicide, I panicked in the end. I called the crisis line for my counselor and my husband, who was out of the house. I also texted another friend of mine. The police and an ambulance showed up and I was taken to the hospital. I have no memory of that time. I barely remember the police and don’t remember the emergency room. The next thing I remember was waking up in a room in the psychiatric hospital attached to the hospital where I went to the emergency room.

I was there for five days before they transferred me to another facility. Before they did, I was taken to court and pronounced too dangerous to myself to be released back into the general population. So I was an involuntary admit to the psych hospital. Which turned out to be a good thing in the end.

At that second facility I was given the chance to learn coping mechanisms, I was given one on one attention, and I had a brilliant psychiatrist tending me that actually listened and got me on a decent regimen of medications. I was there for two weeks and was finally given court permission to go home. I’ve had some problems since, but the suicidal ideologies have faded to almost nothing.

But most people aren’t that lucky. According to the CDC, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. There is one death in the US by suicide every 12.3 minutes. Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year. According to NAMI, only half of the Americans experiencing an episode of major depression get the health care they need. An estimated quarter million people each year become suicide survivors.

Let’s look at some other statistics with suicide. According to the CDC, suicide among males is 4 times higher than females. Male deaths represent 79% of all US suicides. Firearms are the most commonly used method among males. Females experience depression at roughly 2 times the rate of men. Females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males. Poison is the choice of most females.

And that’s just looking at the normal population. Suicide rates among the LGBT community are even higher. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24. LGBT youth are 4 times as likely to commit suicide, and those questioning are 3 times as likely.

Suicide attempts by LGBT youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose. Nearly half of young transgender people have seriously thought about taking  their lives. And one quarter report having made an attempt.

I could quote more statistics, but I think you get the idea. There are a lot of suicides each day. Even if someone is watched, if they’re determined they’ll find a way. This is why we need comprehensive mental health care in this country. We need to stop the bullies from tearing down our children. We need to offer respect and stability for our LGBT youth and adults.

There is a national suicide hotline. It’s 1-800-273-8255. There’s the trangender suicide hotline. It’s 1-877-565-8860. These are numbers for the US. Check out your local areas and see what your suicide hotlines are. If there aren’t any, petition to get one set up. Sometimes all someone who is suicidal needs is for someone to listen without judgment.

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