It was a sad day when the news broke about Robin Williams’ suicide. When someone famous takes their own life, it’s big news. “But he was so funny!” people say. The fact is that comedy and humor often mask great pain. Just look at John Belushi, John Candy and Richard Pryor as examples.
The fact is that someone in America takes their own life about every 13 seconds. The latest statistics show that approximately 40,000 people per year commit suicide. This year, one of them happened to be a beloved comedian.
I’m glad that more education about suicide and prevention is being discussed in the wake of this tragedy. Knowledge is the key to prevention.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, here are the most prevalent risk factors for suicide:
- Mental disorders, in particular:
- Depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder
- Alcohol or substance abuse or dependence
- Borderline or antisocial personality disorder
- Conduct disorder (in youth)
- Psychotic disorders; psychotic symptoms in the context of any disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Impulsivity and aggression, especially in the context of the above mental disorders
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of attempted or completed suicide
- Serious medical condition and/or pain
It is important to bear in mind that the large majority of people with mental disorders or other suicide risk factors do not engage in suicidal behavior.
If someone you know is no longer talking about the future, is selling or giving away possessions for seemingly no reason and is no longer participating in things that he or she used to do, please INTERVENE. Suicidality is a medical emergency! Below are some resources if you or someone you know is feeling like they no longer want to live:
- Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Psychiatric hospital walk-in clinic
- Hospital emergency room
- Urgent care center/clinic
- Call 911
It’s up to the people around us to notice these signs and symptoms because most of the time, a seriously suicidal person will not tell anyone that he or she is feeling this way. Talk about things! Be open! Ask questions without judgment! Let’s save some lives!!