A simple and complex question. Often when posed with the question, we mutter in response, “Fine”, as if on automatic pilot. As a society we have become accustomed to this opaque reply and often accept it as our norm.
I thought it a perfect time to reach out to you and ask, how are you? How are you really? And given it is World Suicide Prevention Day, I thought it a good time for all of us to reflect on our family and friends and to ask them how they are doing – REALLY doing, beyond the proverbial, “Fine”. You may save someone’s life by showing real interest, listening to how they are feeling, being with them during a down time, or by getting them treatment.
Given that one in five people have been personally impacted by a suicide, you may have experienced the trauma and deep grief of having a friend or family member who has passed this way. Perhaps you too have felt suicidal at times. You may have seen me for counseling or an intuitive read after a loved one has passed of suicide or during times of despair in your own life.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death and second leading cause of death between the ages of 15-34 in America according to the latest Vital Signs report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). In addition, suicide is on the rise in every state except for Nevada (according to a CDC 2016 report). Close to 800,000 people die of suicide worldwide every year.
“At what point is it a crisis?” asked Nadine Kaslow, a past president of the American Psychological Association. “Suicide is a public health crisis when you look at the numbers, and they keep going up. It’s up everywhere. And we know that the rates are actually higher than what’s reported. But homicides still get more attention.
Researchers found that more than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known diagnosed mental health condition at the time of death, however, according to Suicide.org, over 90 percent of people who die by suicide have a mental illness at the time of their death. Men often do not seek help. Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women in America and 7 of 10 of the deaths were white males in mid-life (according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention).
Here are some warning signs for suicide:
- Depression and despair
- Isolating, detaching from people
- Giving up interests
- Feels defeated, sense of hopelessness, helpless
- Feeling trapped
- Trouble sleeping
- Giving away possessions
- Feels like a burden and of no value to anyone
- Hints about suicide or threats of suicide
- Saying goodbyes
- Major change in eating habits
- Chronically ill and in pain
- Hearing self-destructive hallucinatory voices
- Talking about hurting oneself
- Acting recklessly
- Sudden positive mood change following deep depression
- Performing poorly at school or work
- Rage and anger
- Excessive guilt or shame
- Writing a will
- Buying handguns (#1 method of suicide), poisons
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Changes in personality
- Alcohol abuse, drug abuse (users of opioids are twice as likely to attempt suicide)
CAUSES OF SUICIDE
Untreated depression is the number one cause of suicide.
Untreated mental illness (including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and others) is the cause for the vast majority of suicides. Ten percent of those diagnosed with psychosis, will die of suicide within the first year of treatment. Often these illnesses are genetic.
Depression is often triggered by several highly difficult life experiences and a person may not receive any treatment or find the right treatments. It is very rare that someone dies by suicide because of one cause according to Suicide.org.
Negative Life Experiences May Include:
- Loss of an important relationship, e.g., divorce, a break-up
- Death of a loved one
- Loss of a job
- Financial loss, ruin and overwhelm, loss of a house (the 2009 depression showed a correlating increase in suicide)
- A serious illness
- Being bullied at school
- The first year after treatment of psychosis such as schizophrenia, bipolar, schizoaffective disorder
- Serious legal problems
- Unresolved trauma
- Being used
- Betrayal by a loved one
- Feeling a lack of belonging
- Being cut-off by loved ones/abandoned
- Not meeting others’ expectations
- Humiliation, perceived failure
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
If you believe someone is suicidal, you must get them help immediately.
Sadly, often mental illness is swept under the rug. Ask your loved one how they are doing, listen to them, ask how they are feeling. Ask them directly if they are considering suicide. Ask them what has helped them feel better in the past and try to get them to do that.
Do not leave them alone. Suicidal states can be temporary and transient. They may fluctuate over time. One minute a person can attempt suicide and the next second regret it and change their mind. They are likely in a cloudy state that is confusing their judgment and disconnecting them from reality. Eliminate dangerous weapons, ensure they only have the correct dose of prescribed medications at their disposal.
I am here for you. There are treatments available.
In emergencies or if a person is in immediate danger, you can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which is a free 24/7 hotline, call 911 and/or take your loved one to an Emergency Room at any hospital.
About Karen Storsteen, M.S., M.A.
Having worked in the fields of human and organizational development for over 25 years, I have counseled and educated hundreds of thousands to self-actualize and reach their greatest potential. I help people let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors so they can experience the miraculous and catapult their lives forward.
Do you need clarity and peace of mind? I am here to assist you whether you are going through a difficult life transition, having relationship issues, seeking career counseling, grieving the loss of a loved one, desiring business consulting, or an intuitive read. As a psychic, I am also able to connect with loved ones on the other side (see testimonials on my website karensinsight.com for more information).
I have been featured on ABC, NBC and CBS, Inc. and TED Magazine, and have been a regular on morning radio and several FM/AM and internet radio stations. My work is well-recognized by Fortune 500 leaders, professional organizations (such as Mensa, the High IQ Society and the Project Management Institute), higher education, mental health professionals, the Crime Wire Bureau of Investigations (for finding missing people and solving suspicious crimes intuitively), media and the general public.
I graduated with Honors with a Master of Arts in Psychology from Regis University and a Master of Science in Management and Organization, and Master’s Minor in Finance, from the University of Colorado. I hold a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. I have numerous certifications in psychological, behavioral and organizational assessment and human-performance improvement technologies.
I provide counseling and business consulting services, as well as intuitive sessions globally and by phone.
To learn more, go to karensinsight.com and karenstorsteen.com.
Copyright © 2018, Karen Storsteen. All Rights Reserved.