The number of Americans who die by suicide continues to increase. In 2011, suicide accounted for 39,518 deaths in the United States1. In 2012, an estimated 9 million adults, aged 18 and older, reported having serious thoughts of suicide2. The loss of someone to suicide affects family, friends, coworkers, and others in the community. Family and friends may experience a range of painful emotions, such as shock, anger, guilt, and depression3. Yet, this doesn’t have to be. SAMHSA and its partners are working to reduce deaths by suicide nationwide
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A behavioral health crisis is not the inevitable consequence of mental illness. But when one does occur, many factors can contribute, including lack of access to essential services and supports, poverty, unstable housing, coexisting mental illness and substance use disorders, other health problems, discrimination, and victimization.
Such a crisis can manifest in a variety of ways, such as social withdrawal, emotional distress, agitation, substance use, or impulses to self-harm. Too often, public systems only think of a situation where someone is a “danger to self or others” constitutes a behavioral health crisis. In reality, an individual and their family may be experiencing a behavioral health crisis even if an individual poses no such danger.
There's some good news in the field of suicide prevention. For the first time ever, the nation has a prioritized suicide prevention research agenda, which was developed by a task force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The Action Alliance, which SAMHSA is proud to support, is a public/private partnership with more than 200 participating organizations.
A recent survey in North Carolina found depression rates among United Methodist clergy were twice as high as the general public1. The researchers suggest that unique demands of the job, including job stress, guilt about not doing enough, and doubts about one’s call to the ministry put clergy mental health at risk. While many factors undoubtedly contribute, there might be another possible explanation – the trauma that clergy encounter on a daily basis.
By: Anne Mathews Younes, Director, Division of Prevention, Traumatic Stress, and Special Programs
The people of Boston have shown incredible resilience in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings on April 15. I have firsthand knowledge of this strength and sense of community. I lived in Boston for 25 years and I ran in and completed the Boston Marathon some years ago.
The Marathon brings a diverse group of people together as a community to celebrate persistence and accomplishment. It is that same sense of community and resilience that will help people cope with this disaster and the complex emotions that arise from it.
The headlines coming out of Connecticut are heartbreaking and our thoughts are with those affected by the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.Questions are many at a time like this. How can we cope with the tragedy? How can we speak about the events with young children? What can health professionals or emergency responders do at these times? How can we make our schools even safer? What other resources are available?