Posted by: karenevoss | September 10, 2011

Suicide Awareness


Not only is this a song about suicide performed by Rascal Flatts, but also a question. A complex question with no absolute answer, when asked by a loved one or friend of someone who has completed suicide.

Did you know…

  • A person dies by suicide every 15 minutes in the U.S.
  • Every day, approximately 90 Americans take their own life.
  • Over 34,000 people in the U.S. die by suicide every year.
  • That 20% of suicide deaths in the U.S. are military veterans
  • There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for every suicide death
  • In the year 2000, approx. one million people die of suicide. This represents a global mortality rate of 16 per 100,000 or one death every 40 seconds.
  • Self-inflicted injuries represented 1.8% of the global burden of disease in 1998 and expecting to increase to 2.4% in 2020.
  • Almost one in four youths who are American Indian/Alaskan Native has attempted suicide one or more times in their lives.
  • The risk of completed suicide is more than 100 times greater than average in the first year after an attempt.

Suicide is sadly becoming a cause of death affecting more people than you might realize. The media only covers suicide deaths of well-known or famous people and only recently ones as a result of bullying. What about all the suicide deaths not mentioned or publicized? Why are the reports focused on men/boys than women/girls? Why are there not more reports on the high suicide rates of the other cultures including the Native American culture? Why don’t we hear about what is likely to cause a suicide attempt or completion in the first place?

Did you know…

  • American Indians are 70% more likely to die by suicide than the general population.
  • A suicide cluster, a series of suicides within the same geographic area, can result in suicide rates on a reservation that are as high as 25 times the national average.
  • Almost one in four youths who are American Indian/Alaskan Native has attempted suicide one or more times in their lives.
  • Suicide is more common among women who are single, recently separated, divorced, or widowed.
  • Women attempt suicide three times more than men, yet men complete suicide at a rate four times that of women.
  • A woman takes her own life every 90 minutes in the U.S., but it there are estimates that one woman attempts suicide every 78 seconds.
  • Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among those 5-14 years old and third leading cause of death among those 15-24 years old.
  • The suicide rates for men rise with age, most significantly after age 65 and suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45-54 years old and again after age 75.

Although there is information available, people do not talk about suicide unless you or someone in your community bear the effects. A stigma still surrounds suicide, one reason it is not openly talked about. An underlying cause of most suicides is mental illness; yet you mostly hear about depression and not others such as bipolar or schizophrenia. Side effects of prescription drugs used to treat mental illnesses (even some not designed to treat mental illness) and other health diagnosis’ may also result in suicide-related deaths. Then why are these drugs even on the market? Why do doctors prescribe these drugs if a reaction could ultimately be deadly, especially in teenagers!

Did you know…

  • From 2005 to 2009, suicide attempts in which drugs played some role rose from 11,235 to 16,757 among women ages 50 and up.
  • A list of some prescription medication for which concerns have been raised involving suicidal thoughts and actions are: All antidepressants, anticonvulsives, Chantix, Singulair, Accutane.
  • From 2005-2007, 79% of suicides due to substance overdose were due to prescription drugs only. The second most common substance used is acetaminophen.
  • From 2005-2007, out of 26,902 suicides poisoning was the third-leading method of suicide, following firearm and hanging/strangulation; 75% of suicides by poisoning were due to alcohol and/or drug overdose versus other types of poison such as carbon monoxide. Less than half (47%) of those who died by alcohol and/or drug overdose were known to have an alcohol or substance abuse problem.
  • Risk factors for suicide among the young include suicidal thoughts, psychiatric disorders, drug and/or alcohol abuse and previous suicide attempts, with the risk increased if there is situational stress and access to firearms.

I have become proactive at preventing suicide. Bringing awareness into the community is part of who I am because suicide has affected me personally. In 2008, in a span of four months (August to December), I became married and widowed. I lost my husband Russ to the completion of suicide. Russ, diagnosed as bipolar in his late teens/early twenties along with negative auditory hallucinations, may have been given an incorrect diagnosis. Although Russ sought treatment which included prescription medication, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist, he still lost his fight at age 39. Without my knowledge, Russ had been removed or removed himself from all medications before the wedding. I would discover this after requesting medical records following his death. Three days before his death, he sought a much-needed appointment with his psychologist who would inform us that Russ showed no symptoms of suicide. So what happened? I know he planned his death. A couple of months after his death I would find a search about hanging suicide on his computer. How did this happen? I do not have the answers, nor will I ever, but now I know more. I have become informed and involved. I am an active participant of the Milwaukee Out of the Darkness Walk benefiting AFSP (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).

How can you prevent innocent lives lost?

  1. Become Informed. By learning the warning signs and causes of suicide, you will be able to recognize someone contemplating suicide or asking for help.
  2. Become Educated. By learning the causes of suicide deaths in your community, you can work with people to help change or adjust these factors.
  3. Become Involved. Be proactive. Join your community in participating in a local Out of the Darkness Walk or better yet form a walk in your community.
  4. Talk about it. Push away the stigma surrounding suicide. Do not just listen or read about it.

Suicide is just as much a disease as any other, although I believe it is more preventable.

I know firsthand how suicide affects lives, so I have no inclination to put anyone else down that road. Who really wants to go down that road? Who wants to experience shock and post-traumatic stress disorder which includes flashbacks of an image of your loved one in their state of death and reliving daily the course of events leading up to the discovery? Carrying a load of guilt everyday for over two years, bouts of depression, sleep issues including insomnia, nightmares and real-life dreams you wake up crying to, are more issues I have had to face. I have managed to combat ALL these issues with the help of not only family and friends, but with the community. A team of people caring for me and working with me made symptoms disappear and transitions easier. I cannot thank enough my grief/trauma counselor, my physician, the SOS~Survivors of Suicide support group, my chiropractors at South Shore Family Chiropractic formerly known as Potisk Chiropractic, and my facilitators within Higher Brain Living. I am sure they have learned from me as I have learned from them.

Anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or tendencies is crying out for help and they should not be ignored! Do your part as a citizen and reach out, ask questions, get help and make sure they are safe. If you are the one contemplating suicide, please seek help. There is no punishment in seeking out someone to talk to whether it is a family member, friend, a medical professional, law enforcement, the National Suicide Prevention line (1-800-273-8255), or a stranger. Help save your life and those around you.

I am an advocate for saving innocent lives lost, are you?

*Note: All facts are courtesy of AFSPSubstance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admin. (SAMHSA), Fox News, ABC News, and the National Violent Death Reporting System.



  1. Truly saddening facts! Thank you for being able and willing to share your story! You are saving many life’s!

    • Thank You Drew! I wouldn’t have made it this far without people like you encouraging and helping me along the way.

  2. […] more facts visit my Suicide Awareness […]

  3. […] In this decade, children bullied during school or on the streets, makes them feel small, scared, and no good. They can’t stand teasing and yet, the help they require isn’t available. Their voices go unheard. If luck happens, they’ll live. If not, then they choose death over life. To learn more about teen suicide, you can read this article. You can also learn more about awareness by reading my blog post about it; either do a search or read the posting. […]

  4. Reblogged this on That's All I Got.

  5. Reblogged this on Uncommon Graces.

  6. Lost my Sister in February. Thanks for being a voice.

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