You may have seen in recent new a famous band singer with 6 children hung himself. Today, the headlines are saying the search of ways to commit suicide went up 25 % after the Netflix series "13 Reasons Why" was released. The stats on suicide are grim: every 15 minutes in the United States someone commits suicide. It has surpassed car accidents as a cause of death in adults. In every high school classroom, 1 boy and 2 girls have had suicidal thoughts. I have a close friend whose brother committed suicide and other friends who have lost family members to suicide.
Suicide breaks hearts and this has been heavy on my heart for the past week. The main thing which comes up in the grief process is the fact that it is preventable. There are many things which can be done to treat the pain of depression: counseling by a skilled therapist, medications prescribed by psychiatrists, ECT for chronic long term depression after failed medication trials is also a very effective form of treatment. There are currently medications being developed which will continue to help people. It can be frustrating as it may take several tries to find an effective medication and SSRI's (antidepressant class) can take up to 30 days be effective once started.
Exercise, diet and sleeping all play a huge role as well substance abuse in escalating depression or stabilizing it. The research supports treatment of clinical depression is most quickly and effectively managed by both counseling services and medication management. If you are concerned about someone, it's likely you should be and I encourage you to act on this. Please encourage them to get to treatment, take their medications and communicate with their treatment team. The thing about depression is it comes with distorted thoughts that make people question if they really need medication and/or therapy or both. In order for a person to act on suicidal thoughts, they believe the distortion there is no hope and no other way out of pain. This can be hard to understand if you haven't had depression yourself. In order to challenge this distortion, we build hope and offer options. There is also more to try and things will get better.
If you are reading this as you are feeling suicidal, please know this is true even if it doesn't feel like it in the moment. San Diego Access and Crisis Line has suicide prevention counselors 24 hours a day 7 days a week to take calls at 888-724-7240.
You can also call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. If you have suicidal thoughts which you fear you may act on, it's time to take these steps immediately.
If you are having a heart attack, you don't wait days or hours to get help, you know you are in crisis and you call for help. If you have active suicidal thoughts, it's time to get help. If you have a plan and you are taking steps to take action on this plan, you need crisis intervention and to go to an ER.