Editorial: Sad sign of hard times
A close call on an interstate bridge and a fatal stand on the railroad tracks put suicide in the news recently because the incidents happened in public . But quietly, in private, suicide has been taking place with increasing frequency during the recession. Itís past time to reach out to those in trouble.
People suffering from depression and suicidal thoughts need to know they are not alone, and they are not bad people for having those thoughts. They need help coping with whatever burden or pain they are carrying around ó and help is available.
Suicide has become the 11th leading cause of death in the United States, leading to more than 34,000 deaths a year. Millions more have thought about or attempted suicide.
Unemployed people are two to three times more likely to commit suicide, many sources report, and foreclosure is inflicting pain too. Two researchers addressed the subject in a New York Times column recently, Craig E. Pollack of Johns Hopkins and Julia F. Lynch at the University of Pennsylvania. they wrote, in part:
ěMore than one-third of homeowners in our study had symptoms of major depression. … For every 100 foreclosures, it found a 12 percent increase in anxiety-related emergency-room visits and hospitalizations by adults under 50. Losing a home disrupts social ties to neighbors, schools, jobs and health care providers ó ties that under better circumstances promote good health.î
The National Suicide Prevention Hotline says these are signs that someone may be at risk of suicide:
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
Talking about being a burden to others.
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
Sleeping too little or too much.
Withdrawing or feeling isolated.
Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
Displaying extreme mood swings.
Donít be judgmental or try to cajole the person into a better mood; take the situation seriously and get help. A good first step is to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
A man who tried to end his life on a local bridge early this week later thanked Trooper C.F. Rogers for stopping him. ěI told him, ëI wasnít going to let you do that while I was sitting there,í î Rogers said.
If youíre close to someone who seems especially troubled, donít just sit there ó literally or figuratively. Make sure your friend gets the help he or she needs.