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Eupraxsophy

Secular humanist, freethinker, progressive, and bibliophile. I enjoy love, knowledge, and life itself.
Suicide at the Yangtze River Bridge
An identified person jumps into the river from the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China. Another…View Post

Suicide at the Yangtze River Bridge

An identified person jumps into the river from the Yangtze River Bridge in Wuhan, China. Another…

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Rising Suicide Rates Spur Global Push On Prevention

7 months ago- 2

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.

David Foster Wallace

Deaths by self-inflicted injuries per 100,000 inhabitants (WHO Disease and injury country estimates). 
Lithuania, Guyana, Japan, and Hungary have the highest rates, while the countries with the greatest absolute numbers of suicides are China and India, which account for over half the total (in the former, suicide is the 5th leading cause of death). 
Globally, as of 2008/2009, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with about 800,000 to 1,000,000 people dying annually. Rates of suicide have increased by 60% over the last 50 years, with these increases seen primarily in the developing world. For every suicide that results in death there are between 10 and 40 attempted suicide

Deaths by self-inflicted injuries per 100,000 inhabitants (WHO Disease and injury country estimates). 

Lithuania, Guyana, Japan, and Hungary have the highest rates, while the countries with the greatest absolute numbers of suicides are China and India, which account for over half the total (in the former, suicide is the 5th leading cause of death). 

Globally, as of 2008/2009, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with about 800,000 to 1,000,000 people dying annuallyRates of suicide have increased by 60% over the last 50 years, with these increases seen primarily in the developing world. For every suicide that results in death there are between 10 and 40 attempted suicide

After the Vietnam War, 38% of American veterans suffered failed marriages within 6 months of their return; the divorce rate was twice as high for vets diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Indeed, Vietnam War veterans in particular are 69% more likely to have their marriages fail than other vets.

Army records show that 65% of active-duty suicides — which now outnumber combat deaths — are precipitated by broken relationships; as for veterans of all conflicts, one of them commit suicide every 80 minutes. Indeed, while veterans make up 7% of the population, they account for 20% of all suicides.

What’s worse is that the spouses and children of a parent who commits suicide is consequently 3 times more likely to end their lives as well, meaning that veteran families are at risk as well.

I have no data on veterans from other countries involved in the conflict (including Vietnam itself, and allies like Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, and the like). 

But in the end one needs more courage to live than to kill himself.

Albert Camus

Suicide Rates Rise Sharply In U.S.

11 months ago- 6

The Urge To End It

One aspect of [suicide] survivors’ personalities that appears to have been left behind is whatever mind-tumble caused them to try to kill themselves in the first place. Since their attempts, none of the survivors I spoke with had experienced another impulse toward suicide. Nor had they spent much time seeing psychologists or hanging out in support groups. In Baldwin’s case, he attended just five therapy sessions after his jump from the Golden Gate.

“And after that fifth session,” he recalled, “the therapist said: ‘You know, I really don’t think you need to do this anymore. You seem to have it all put back together.’ And he was right.”

For each, it’s almost as if their near-death experience scared them straight, propelled them back to a point of recovery beyond even their own imagining. But that’s actually not so unusual; just as Seiden found that less than 10 percent of people thwarted from jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge went on to kill themselves, a host of studies show that same percentage holds among those who carry out “near fatal” attempts but somehow survive. Beginning in the 1970s, Dr. David Rosen, a psychiatrist and Jungian psychoanalyst, tracked down and conducted lengthy interviews with nine people who survived leaps from the Golden Gate, as well as one who had gone off the nearby Bay Bridge.

“What was immediately apparent,” Rosen recounted, “was that none of them had truly wanted to die. They had wanted their inner pain to stop; they wanted some measure of relief; and this was the only answer they could find. They were in spiritual agony, and they sought a physical solution.”

1 year ago- 3

Lasting Legacy of Childhood Bullying: Psychiatric Problems In Adulthood

Starting in 1993, the scientists followed over 1,400 children at three different ages — 9, 11 and 13, and interviewed them and their caregivers every year until the kids turned 16.

Based on the interviews, they categorized the kids into four groups: victims only, bullies only, both bullies and victims, or neither. To determine the long-term effects of bullying, the researchers re-interviewed the participants when they were ages 19, 21, 24 and 26, and evaluted them for a wide range of different psychiatric disorders.

(MORE: The Relationship Between Bullying and Depression: It’s Complicated)

“Bullying is not just a part of childhood, or some sort of a harmless activity between peers. This is actually something that has very detrimental, and very long lasting effects,” says study author William Copeland of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, North Carolina.

All three groups who reported being involved in bullying experienced some long-term psychiatric effects in the form of anxiety, depressive, or antisocial personality disorders, or some type of alcohol or marijuana abuse. After controlling for family hardships that might also make these mental health issues more likely, the researchers found distinct patterns of psychiatric problems that distinguished the bullies from their victims.

Victims of bullying were nearly three times as likely to have issues with generalized anxiety as those who were not bullied, and 4.6 times as likely to suffer from panic attacks, or agoraphobia, in which they felt trapped or had no escape, compared to those who were spared bullying.

Bullies themselves showed a four times higher risk of antisocial personality disorder as adults compared to those who did not bully others, and children who reported being both bullies and victims seemed to fare the worst of all; these participants showed a nearly five times greater risk of depression as young adults compared to those who had not both given and received bullying behavior, and a 14.5 times greater risk of having a panic disorder.

These effects also showed some gender differences; women had a dramatically higher risk, at nearly 27 times, of having agoraphobia, while men showed an 18.5 times greater prevalence of suicidal tendencies.

“For bullies, it’s a completely different kind of problem,” says Copeland. “With the victims, it is all related to their emotional functioning. For the bullies, they had higher rates of antisocial personality disorder, which is kind of related to criminal behavior, so they’re having completely different problems in adulthood than the victims.”

1 year ago- 6

Olivia Prenpaze

I’ve recently been reflecting on a video I saw some time back, one of the saddest and most gripping I’ve seen in some time (though it’s recently been removed). A young woman named Olivia Prenpaze made a courageous confession about a very difficult secret: multiple suicide attempts due to a myriad of personal and psychological problems, ranging from bullying and depression, to psychosis and anorexia. She also tried to reassure others that they can fight through their own demons and that they must never bully or harm another person.
Unfortunately, she ended up taking her own life some time after the video was posted a couple of months ago.
 
It pains me to imagine that such a brave and wonderful person is forever gone from this world. I would have liked to have known her, and maybe to have at least tried to help her. I wish so badly that I could save people like this. It saddens me that there are millions of people like her who die and suffer every year, even as I write this, for reasons beyond their control – reasons they did not deserve.
 
She didn’t ask to be born with a cruel range of mental illnesses that took their toll on her well-being. She was a victim of random chance, of a mind whose innate suffering was made worse by the negligence and outright cruelty of the society around her. I can’t imagine being born into a life where I must struggle against my own mind on a daily basis, to say nothing of external forces.
 
It was a testament to her strength that she pulled through for as long as she did, all the while maintaining an impenetrable façade of happiness. Even the most beautiful and happy people can be suffering immensely underneath.
 
If anyone reading this ever needs help, I’m here. I don’t care who you are or what the problem is, don’t hesitate to message me. I’ll do everything I can to help you. I wish I could make all this tragedy stop, but I’ll be satisfied if I can save at least one life. That’s as precious as they come.

VA Studies Find Marked Increase In Veteran Suicides

And that’s not the most distressing part:

“There is a perception that we have a veterans’ suicide epidemic on our hands. I don’t think that is true,” said Robert Bossarte, an epidemiologist with the VA who did the study. “The rate is going up in the country, and veterans are a part of it.” The number of suicides overall in the United States increased by nearly 11 percent between 2007 and 2010, the study says.

1 year ago- 3

We know today that the phenomenon of “suicide contagion” is real. Numerous studies have demonstrated that one suicide within a community can spark others. The mechanisms of suicide contagion are not well understood, but there’s substantial evidence that the media plays a major role as a suicide vector. A 2008 World Health Organization report is unequivocal: “Over 50 investigations into imitative suicides have been conducted. Systematic reviews of these studies have consistently drawn the same conclusion: media reporting of suicide can lead to imitative suicidal behaviours.”

According to the World Health Organization, the likelihood of imitative suicides resulting from media coverage varies, depending in part on “the amount and prominence of coverage, with repeated coverage and ‘high impact’ stories being most strongly associated with imitative behaviours. It is accentuated when the person described in the story and the reader or viewer are similar in some way….Particular subgroups in the population (e.g., young people, people suffering from depression) may be especially vulnerable to engaging in imitative suicidal behaviours… [and] overt description of suicide by a particular method may lead to increases in suicidal behaviour employing that method.”

The plenitude of studies documenting a media version of “the Werther effect” have led many organizations to promulgate “best practices” for media reporting on suicide. The National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), for instance, urges media organizations to avoid “Big or sensationalistic headlines, or prominent placement” of stories about suicide, and avoid using such terms as “epidemic,” “skyrocketing,” and so on when discussing suicide trends. Similarly, the World Health Organization warns that “Prominent placement and undue repetition of stories about suicide are more likely to lead to imitative behaviours than more subtle presentations.”

NIMH also urges media to avoid “Including photos/videos of the location or method of death, grieving family, friends, memorials or funerals,” since this can both lead others to identify more with the suicide victim — thus increasing the likelihood of copycat behavior — or lead people to focus on the idea that suicide will lead to positive attention (“After I’m gone, they’ll finally appreciate me…”). The CDC concurs, noting that “News coverage is less likely to contribute to suicide contagion when reports of community expressions of grief (e.g., public eulogies, flying flags at half-mast, and erecting permanent public memorials) are minimized. Such actions may contribute to suicide contagion by suggesting to susceptible persons that society is honoring the suicidal behavior of the deceased person…”

Rosa Brooks, The Contagion Effect

Subway Deaths Haunt Train Drivers

It’s interesting to note that most humans involved in the taking a human life, even when not at fault, become horribly affected by it. That says something about our nature. 

1 year ago- 4

There has always been a stigma attached to mental illness, but even with the advancement of medical science and our far greater understanding of the how the mind and brain function, psychological problems are often dismissed as the product of a weak mind or poor upbringing (i.e. people who committed suicide are too sensitive, depressed people need to suck it up, etc). While one’s social environment, among other things, can certainly be an influence, it’s not the whole story. 

The fact is, the brain is like any other physical organ: it can be damaged or disordered, which manifests through any manner of behavioral or cognitive problems. We know that people with low levels of serotonin, an important neurotransmitter, are more likely to end their lives; in almost every society, men are more likely to commit suicide, and it may partly because of testosterone, which is found to increase impulsivity (conversely, obese people have a lower likelihood of being suicidal due to hormones that reduce impulsiveness). Meanwhile, brain scans reveal notable differences between the brains of people with ADD or bipolar disorder disorder and the brains of those who don’t have them. 

So while it is true that there is still a lot to learn, and that misdiagnoses and medical malfeasance complicate matters, mental illness is not as spurious as people make it out to be.