Suicide: Rates, Who is At Risk, & Online Appeal
Roughly 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide annually, just 200,000 shy of 1 million people. It is the 17th leading cause of death in the world, the 2nd cause of death for people between the ages of 15-29, and the 5th leading cause of death for those 30-49. Sadly, for every one person who commits suicide, it is estimated that there are 20 more attempts (World Health Organization, 2017). .
In 2016, an American committed suicide every 12.3 minutes. An estimated 1.1 million Americans attempt suicide every year. Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men commit suicide more than women. However, the rate of suicide for adolescent women is rising, especially those ages 10-14 (World Health Organization, 2017 ; Bichell, 2016) . Moreover, veterans & LGBTQ have a significantly high risk rate for suicide.
Clearly, this is a heartbreaking global crisis effecting millions of people. So how can we prevent this? One way is to utilize internet resources, not only for those who are contemplating suicide, but for those who worry others may be at risk. A variety of online prevention tools are available and can be helpful due to quick access as well as the appeal and comfort of anonymity, which 82% of adolescents said that was important when seeking mental health help (Greidanus & Everall, 2010).
Online Chat: General Public
The suicide prevention lifeline chat is available for everyone 24/7 for those in the U.S. and allows individuals who are experiencing hopelessness, depression, and suicidal tendencies, to anonymously talk with a specialist about what it is they are going through. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or feelings, or need someone to talk to please visit:
Online Chat & Resources : Veterans
Veterans account for 22.2% of suicides in America (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). The website https://www.veteranscrisisline.net is specifically dedicated to providing support to veterans who may be feeling suicidal and provides confidential chat rooms, self-assessment tests, and hotline phone numbers. They even provides resources for those who may be concerned about a veteran they know, such as information about warning signs.
Online Chat & Resources : LGBTQ Community
The Trevor Project is specifically designed for LGBTQ members and their loved ones and provides access to a hotline number, confidential online chat, and a number one can text. LGBTQ youth contemplate suicide three times more than heterosexual youth and are 8.4 times more likely to consider it if they are not supported by their families. In addition, 1 in 6 LGBTQ high schoolers contemplate suicide in a single year. Moreover, 40% of transgender individuals have attempted suicide. If you are an LGBTQ member and struggling, please visit :
Suicide Prevention App:
The app, entitled “MY3”, allows individuals who are at risk for suicide to pick three individuals they feel they could turn to when they start to experience suicidal thoughts and feelings, whether it be their family, friends, or therapist. That way, they know quickly who they can call for help. The app also includes a phone number for a suicide hotline as well as 911. If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please consider downloading this app.
Videos & Testimonials:
The National Institute of Mental Health and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention funded reseach for the website nowmatternow.org which provides videos and topics about and related to suicide prevention. Videos include testimonials from individuals struggling, doctors, and research based topics such as mindfulness, caring messages, emotional reactivity, opposition action, and breathing techniques.
Forums: I’ve been there too
The use of online forums and talking in an open dialogue with others about suicidal thoughts have been shown to help those who sought help for suicide initially. It allows individuals to share their own feelings about their suicidal thoughts as well as emphasize and share their similar stories and feelings with others in the discussion, which in turn helps provide suport (Greidanus & Everall, 2010). Here is a site where individuals can share their thoughts, struggles, and experiences with suicide and help and provide insights to others:
Resources for those Concerned for Someone Else or Those Effected by Suicide:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides resources for individuals who have lost someone to suicide or are worried about losing someone to suicide. Please visit: https://afsp.org/find-support/
The website https://www.take5tosavelives.org/take-5-steps partnered with the World Health Organization and Association for Suicide Prevention so that individuals could take five minutes out of their day to learn the five steps in helping to prevent suicide which include : learning the signs, doing your part, practicing self-care, reaching out, and spreading the word. Please visit the website for more information.
Facebook also provides a list resources if you or someone you love is dealing with suicidal thoughts. Please visit : https://www.facebook.com/help/594991777257121/.
Reporting individuals with Suicidal Thoughts: Facebook
If someone is live streaming and discussing suicidal thoughts, and you report this to Facebook, they will reach out to the individual with a list of resources they can access. Facebook has also partnered with the Crisis Text Line, the National Eating Disorder Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to utilize artificial intelligence to identify individuals who have posted suicidal thoughts, in which case the individual will be contacted by a mental health provider through messenger (Dickey, 2017).
You are loved, you are important, and you matter. If you or someone you know if struggling with suicidal thoughts or feelings, please visit one of the resources provided in this article or reach out to a mental health provider or suicide hotline number.