Helping women with chronic illnesses

World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10, 2011

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day. As regular readers of my blog are aware, I have written about the topic of suicide on numerous occasions. I believe it’s extremely important to get people talking openly about this important topic.

Let me explain why I initially began writing about suicide. I closely monitor the traffic that reaches my blog. Awhile back, I felt compelled to write about suicide because of the frequency with which people were reaching my blog after using search strings such as endometriosis and suicide. That is just one example of a search string that got my attention and made me feel it would be advisable to write about suicide prevention.

Subsequently, I took a safeTALK suicide alertness class. I referenced it previously in this post.

Below are some links to previous posts I have written on this topic:

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

“Research has shown that 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death, most often unrecognized or untreated depression”.

Recently, I read about a study that found one in 10 suicides to be linked to chronic illness.

That article led me to a study by Demos. The authors of the study (Louise Bazalgette, William Bradley, and Jenny Ousbey) investigated “the truth about suicide and serious physical illness” and found “that at least 10 per cent of the suicides that take place in the UK are by people who are chronically or terminally ill”. They also found that there is a “wide variation in how verdicts of suicide are recorded by coroners and made available to the public and policymakers”.

From Demos:

“Despite some progress made in our cultural attitudes to death, suicide remains very much a taboo subject. This discomfort has serious consequences, as it may be preventing proper analysis of the root causes of suicide. While some of the risk factors for suicide – such as gender and mental illness – are well-known, there is a vast hinterland of research waiting to be done on other potential factors. Physical illness [emphasis mine] is one such factor…”

To read the entire study, click here to read The Truth About Suicide (by Louise Bazalgette, William Bradley, and Jenny Ousbey).

Needless to say this study got my attention. Having spent a fair amount of time reading through materials about suicide, this study was the very first one that I have encountered that looked specifically at the link between chronic illness and suicide.

From the Guardian article that led me to the Demos study:

“A Department of Health spokesman said its mental health strategy recognised ‘that physical illness increases the risk of mental health problems and vice versa’. We are consulting with bereaved families and experts in general practice, local government, and other organisations on a new strategy to prevent suicides.

The consultation calls upon healthcare professionals to be alert to mental health issues, especially depression, in the patients that they see for known physical health problems, and to take the right steps to help people with long-term conditions have a better quality of life”.

It is great that such research is being done and I think it was long overdue. More is definitely needed. It is also apparent that the potential overlap between mental and physical illnesses in the same patients isn’t being overlooked by these individuals. It’s important for people to understand that many patients cope with both physical and mental health conditions.

Another study, conducted by Temple University, looked at whether suicide might be under-reported for political reasons:

Without a doubt, the stigma associated with suicide and the reluctance some people have to discuss it are barriers to preventing suicide. It is imperative for those who are at risk to be identified and referred to suicide first aid resources.

Moving on to what another blogger is saying to get the conversation started about suicide, I’d like to refer readers to another post for suicide prevention week.

Trigger warning: Since many of my readers struggle with or have experienced infertility and/or pregnancy loss, I just wanted to take a moment now to make clear that Shaping Youth is a ‘forum about media and marketing’s influence on kids’. If you’re more comfortable skipping past this section, please be sure to see the resources listed at the end of this post.

Amy Jussel
Founder, Executive Director of Shaping Youth

Some of you may be familiar with Amy’s 2009 post Diagnosis Endometriosis: What to Know As Preteens Grow. As I mentioned earlier, my blog receives many visitors who search on phrases such as “endometriosis and suicide”.

Yesterday, Amy shared my 2010 About Suicide Prevention post within her information-packed post Talk To Me: Because Media Matters For Youth Outreach. I am very pleased that Amy is shining a spotlight on the topic of suicide and I encourage my readers to check out Amy’s post. I think it is important to “start the conversation”, as the campaign Amy referred to suggests.

The more open people are about discussing suicide, the more likely the people who need help locating appropriate resources are to discuss their situations. Most people who have thoughts of suicide DO send out “invitations” that ask for help. Again, let’s start the conversation.

Regardless of the factors that contribute to a person having thoughts of suicide, it’s crucial to for people having suicidal thoughts to get connected with suicide first aid resources.

If you, or someone you know, is having thoughts of suicide please call a hotline (resources are listed below).

Suicide first aid resources:

In the United States, please call call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Outside the United States, please see this website for the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) . It will direct you to the hotline nearest you:

This post was written by Jeanne at Copyright © Jeanne — All rights reserved.

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1 comment

1 World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10, 2012 — { 09.07.12 at 2:26 pm }

[…] is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide prevention is a topic I’ve written about many times in the past. While suicide may be an uncomfortable topic for some, I feel compelled to talk about it because I […]

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