Depression and Suicide
"Every suicide is a tragedy. The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after persons dear to them have taken their own lives" - Margaret Chan, Director General of WHO
- Depression is the cause of over two-thirds of the reported suicides in the U.S. each year. (White House Conference on Mental Health, 1999) (more than 43,000 suicides reported in 2012)
- For every two homicides committed in the United States, there are three suicides. The suicide rate for older adults is more than 50% higher than the rate for the nation as a whole. Up to two-thirds of older adult suicides are attributed to untreated or misdiagnosed depression. (American Society on Aging, 1998)
- Untreated depression is the number one risk factor for suicide among youth. Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15 to 24 year olds and the fourth leading cause of death in 10 to 14 year olds. Young males age 15 to 24 are at highest risk for suicide, with a ratio of males to females at 7:1. (American Association of Suicidology, 1996)
- The death rate from suicide (11.3 per 100,000 population) remains higher than the death rate for chronic liver disease, Alzheimer's, homicide, arteriosclerosis or hypertension. (Deaths: Final Data for 1998, Center for Disease Control)
Death by Suicide Occures Every 40 Seconds
- Bloomberg News (9/4, Kitamura) reported that according to a report (9/5) issued by the World Health Organization, a death by suicide occurs every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. The WHO's first-ever global report on suicide also found that approximately "three-quarters of those suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries, where self-poisoning by pesticide is the leading cause, and other common methods include hanging and firearms", the WHO said.
- McClatchy (9/5, Zarocostas, Subscription Publication) reports that around the world, an estimated 804,000 people killed themselves in 2012, a rate of about 11.4 per 100,000 population, and were almost twice as likely as females to kill themselves, WHO reported, with a rate of 15.0 per 100,000 for men, versus 8.0 for women." In the US, of the 43,361 Americans who killed themselves in 2012, 34,055 were male and 9,306 were female.
- TIME (9/5, Worland) reports that the WHO “report argues that suicide is preventable and calls on communities to fight the stigma that surrounds mental health issues and to take action on the issue. "In the report, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan stated, Every suicide is a tragedy, Chan added "The impact on families, friends and communities is devastating and far-reaching, even long after persons dear to them have taken their own lives. Also covering the story are Reuters (9/4, Kelland), Newsweek (9/5, Westcott), and BBC News (9/5).
Jeffrey R. Holland, former president of Brigham Young University and now a General Authority in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, accurately described depression.
"When I speak of this, I am not speaking of bad hair days, tax deadlines, or other discouraging moments we all have. Everyone is going to be anxious or downhearted on occasion. But today I am speaking of something more serious, of an affliction so severe that it significantly restricts a person's ability to function fully".
He continues, still speaking of depression and depressive disorders, "...there should be no more shame in acknowledging them than in acknowledging a battle with high blood pressure or the sudden appearance of a malignant tumor".