Eighteen-year-old Catherine had everything: the most supportive family, a loving boyfriend, an awesome set of friends and comfortable life. But all of these things took a backseat when she was diagnosed with depression. From the bubbly chatterbox that she was, she morphed into a melancholic girl who had nothing in mind but to kill herself. “There is nothing left to live for. I’m worthless and hopeless.” That statement ran in her head over and over again. She wanted to jump off the bridge or drink formaldehyde on a whim.
She was suicidal.
It took a lot of trips to the doctor and support from her family and friends before Catherine bounced back to normalcy. Now, the melancholia and suicidal thoughts are gone. She has just finished college and is about to start her dream job.
Suicide is defined as the act of killing oneself intentionally. It stems from severe depression, an illness that intervenes with the mental, physical and emotional aspects of a person.
The majority of depressed people do not actually die from suicide. But depression does trigger a higher suicidal risk. New data has reported that two per cent of depressed people who have received treatment for depression in an outpatient scenario might die by suicide. Four per cent of those who were treated in an inpatient hospital setting might also die by the same method. Those who have had suicidal attempts before are also likely to die by suicide later on. Another research shows that 7 per cent of men with a history of depression will eventually kill themselves whereas only 1 per cent of women with a history of depression will do.
Those who have had mood disorders commit suicide. The clinically depressed younger ones often turn to substance abuse to kill themselves.
The most common method of suicide is the use of firearms, as it makes up 60 per cent of suicides. From a study by the National Institute of Mental Health, about 80 per cent of white males commit suicide by shooting themselves. This pushes the resolve that a firearm must be removed from the home if a family member is discovered to be at risk for suicide.
The next most common method for men is hanging whereas drug overdose or self-poisoning is the second most common suicidal method for women.
Other than depression, there are other risk factors for suicide:
1. Impulsivity. There are people out who do things on a whim. If one has a gun in hand, he might shoot himself out of an impulse.
2. Traumatic life events. Death of a loved one, financial rut or other adversity might compel a person to kill him or herself.
3. History of suicide in the family. There is such a thing as “suicide contagion” in which a person is exposed to suicides and suicidal attempts often. This can become a risk factor for killing oneself.
4. Family violence. If one is physically or sexually abused, he or she might turn to suicide to end the ordeal.
5. Suicide attempt before. He has done it before, why not do it again?
6. Alcohol and drug abuse. An alcoholic or drug addict will reach a point when he will have no qualms about killing himself.
Depression is a problem that has to be uprooted to keep suicidal thoughts at bay. If a person is suicidal, it is a must that he receives professional treatment. Usually, those who are thinking of killing themselves do not know they need help.
Preventing suicide is no easy feat, either. It is in this light that a broad and extensive suicide prevention program must be established. These programs must zero in on the treatment of depression and drug abuse. Before being launched to the public, they must be scientifically assessed and tested first for effectiveness and safety. They must also be extensive and complex enough so that the effects will last a long time and eventually banish all suicidal thoughts. They must also be carried out according to the age, culture and gender of the suicidal patients.
Depression and suicide do go together, but if one works hard to combat depression thoughts of suicide will be banished.