Giving a Voice to the Silence offers positive angles to the issue that faces those with mental illness. Living with Schizo-Affective Disorder and being able to share my experiences with others, is the best way I know how to pay it forward. Life can be difficult, my goal is to bring a bit of hope to a place where many feel there is none.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Suicide Knows No Boundaries

There are those who believe that only those with severe mental illnesses commit suicide that it would never enter their mind or affect anyone in their family – their understanding of suicide would be greatly distorted.

No matter where you are in the world, thoughts of suicide are more common than originally thought. A study has shown that among 85,000 people, in 17 countries – the patterns were consistent, and no matter where they lived those who are young, single, females, poorly educated or mentally ill had a higher risk of suicidal ideation's – with the risk factors being consistent.

A saddening statistic, according to the World Health Organization, says suicide rates have increased 60 percent over the last 45 years and is now the leading cause of death among males and females between the ages of 15 to 44.

Typically a person will attempt suicide within one year after the ideas begin; knowing that kids between the ages of 12 and 15 make up a higher number of suicide attempts, being able to detect the signs becomes crucial.

The question now becomes, how do we fight this killer? Suicide is not something we can see, it is not something congress can outlaw or take off the streets, and it hides in the deepest corners of a person not showing its ugly head until it’s too late. As a society we must educate ourselves as to the warning signs, take them seriously and stop the stigma that goes along with admitting there is a problem.

Think of yourself – what would you want to happen if you faced a bout of severe depression, found yourself considering suicide and felt there was no other way out? Would you want someone to help, listen and not criticize?

Keep your eyes and ears open, all too often those at greatest risk are right in front of us asking for help.