What’s your worse fear about death? Is it dying a horrible death by drowning or fire? What about being murdered by gangsters? I honestly believe people do not want to die; we all have a need to survive and live. There are times when we let our minds trick us into thinking death is the only option for a problem we face, but that is not a wanting to die but a wanting to fix an issue.
Suicide is more than an issue in the United States it honestly is an epidemic. The stigma associated with it is still huge making the conversation about suicide hard to start and continue. My favorite stigma about suicide is “if you talk about it, people will do it”. Seriously! Do you really believe that? Your local and national news always reports and talks about someone being murdered, does that make you want to go kill someone? We have to drop that stigma and open up the conversation about suicide.
I wanted to find numbers of death in the US that were recorded from a source that is creditable so I choose the CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The information I am looking at is from 2010 because that is the most accurate information the CDC has currently. In 2010 we had over 300 million people in the US. Lets take a look at some of our fears of death and the reality of what actually kills us.
I think death by fire is one of the scariest thought of death for many people. Yearly 2,640 people die by fire. That number actually came form a study done in 2011.
Drowning is probably up there with fire for scariest death for a lot of folks. The average amount of deaths by drowning was 3,533 between 2005-2009.
Have you heard of the RED campaign? They are advertised in hospitals, musicians release records for them; I think it is a commonly seen logo for a campaign for AIDS/HIV. I’m by no means trying to down play the dieses or say it is not important to tackle the world wide epidemic of it but I was really surprised to see the amount of deaths. In the US there were 8,369 deaths related to the dieses for 2010.
I always hear about the gun epidemic in the US and that gun crimes are on a rise. I thought that homicide/murder would be in the top ten for deaths in the US, but I was wrong. The total for homicide deaths was 16,259.
I remember the gruesome videos I watched in driver’s education called Red Asphalt and it changed my perspective on safety in vehicles. Locally there are huge media campaigns for safe driving targeting texting, using your phone, driving while intoxicated and more. We even have a seat belt campaign and police stand on street corners to see if you are wearing yours. The total amount of deaths by automobile crashes was 33,687.
So where does suicide stand in compared to these? It has to be under homicide because of all the gun crimes I hear about. Surely it is under AIDS/HIV deaths because I am familiar with the campaigns and push for more knowledge. I have seen car crashes on the interstates and in town so I know that claims more lives. If you thought like I did you are wrong, I was wrong. Suicide claims 38,364 lives a year.
Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States. If it is so high how come we don’t hear about it in school, on TV, in the new paper and other outlets? The only reason I can come up with is the stigma. It is much easier to accept the other causes of death because you think there is nothing you could have done to prevented it, it is an accident. It is also hard to accept the fact that to kill yourself means you are the one having the problem.
Here it is all together
Have you ever crossed the street to get away from a scary person or group? Have you stayed out of a section of town because of gang problem? You do this out of fear of being harmed and killed.
Have you crossed the street to get away from your shadow? How about duck and hide from the person in the mirror? You should because you are twice a likely to die by your own hands than the hands of someone else. That is a scary thought! Say it out loud “you are more likely to die by your own hands than homicide”. That one threw me for a loop.
I really hope that this opens up your eyes to the epidemic of suicide in the US. Start the conversation with your family and friends. Talk about how to get help and what clinics are available in your area. It is a lot easier to talk about suicide than talk about the tragedy of loosing a loved one to suicide.
National suicide hotline and resources
1-888-628-9454 Spanish Suicide Prevention Line
1-800-784-2433 www.hopeline.com This will connect you with a crisis center in your area.
American Association of Suicidology www.suicidology.org
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention www.afsp.org
Sibling Survivors of Suicide http://www.siblingsurvivors.com/index.htm
Ask a Doc-Ask a Cop: The Mental Health Minute