Suicide: Facts, Misconceptions, Causes, And Prevention


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A sixteen-year old boy sat in his fourth period class crying because he had just broken up with his girlfriend. As he sat there, he tried to think of a way to ease the pain in his heart of the whole situation. His only conclusion was to try and take his own life. This is an attempt of suicide, which was luckily stopped because of a note that he had given to his girlfriend describing his plans that she, in turn, had given to the Guidance Counselor of the school. The truth is that an attempt of suicide is not always the person’s fault, there are several factors, which are contributed to the cause of suicidal thoughts, or feelings that lead to suicidal attempts, and with various treatment methods these conditions can be controlled not necessarily eliminated.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages fifteen through twenty-five. After making that statement one would come to the conclusion that this age group is responsible for the most suicides, but that is not true the elderly ages sixty-five and older account for more then twenty-percent of all suicides. Considering on average eighty-four people die a day from suicide, that means, that there is an elderly person dying every ninety minutes from suicide, and fifty-four percent of all elderly suicides are committed with a firearm, but after saying that consider this that the elderly only account for thirteen-percent of the U.S. population, and suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among the U.S. population (SAVE). Sixty-percent of suicides among young people are committed with a firearm, and more young people die from suicide than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined (Centers for Disease Control).

There are plenty of misconceptions and myths, when it comes to understanding if someone is suicidal and if they already are what makes them that way. One myth is that someone who talks about suicide or jokes about it will not commit suicide. This is not true most of the time; someone who is going to commit suicide will give hints that they are going to do so. These hints are not necessarily as clear as we think they should be, but maybe that is because we

are too ignorant to see the warning signs that are put right in front of our face.

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Another myth is that most suicides occur at night and at times when there is a full moon. This not true, most suicides occur during the afternoon or early evening (Schleifer 19, 20). Common misconceptions are as follows, “Anyone who tries to kill him/herself must be crazy ”, “ If a person is determined to kill him/herself, nothing is going to stop him/her ”, “ People who commit suicide are people who were unwilling to seek help ”, “ Talking about suicide may give someone the idea.” Not a single one of these misconceptions has a bearing of truth in it (SAVE).

The truth is that the only way to understand a suicidal person is to understand the things that are contributed to them becoming that way. Most suicidal people suffer from at least one form of depression, whether it comes from feelings from within, such as hurt, or bearing the pain of something that has happened to you. Depression is a serious issue that should never be taken lightly or brushed off as a common thing that happens to everyone. Depression is not a case of the blues. It is an altogether separate issue that costs the lives of millions every year, but it does not have to, because of the fact that most people who are depressed give out warning signs or signals that they need help. The most common way these signs are shown is through drinking, doing drugs, fits of anger or rage, and threats of running away or bringing harm to ones self (Gardner and Rosenberg 37-61).

Due to the fact that most people who are depressed give out these signs, doctors have been able to come up with treatments to help the depressed. They also know that depression is a type of brain disease, which can affect a person so much that they want to commit the selfish act of suicide, but if other people knew how to read the warning signs better, there might not be so many suicidal attempts or successful attempts being committed in the United States. Suicide in the U.S. would become so obsolete, that when a person does commit suicide. They would make
one must realize that this can never come true, because of the fact that people are too ignorant and selfish to want to take the time to help anyone else now days. The truth is most people do not care about anyone else’s feelings or problems until they affect them, because of this, suicide rate in the U.S. will continue to grow, eventually reaching numbers in the lower millions (Centers for Disease Control).
Here is a list of some of the symptoms and warning signs one should look for in the different age groups. The warning signs and symptoms of suicide that one should look for in age groups twenty-four through sixty-four are these, a “Persistent sad or ‘empty’ mood”, “Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic and/or guilty”, “substance abuse” such as alcohol or drugs, “fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities”, “thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts”. The warning signs and symptoms to look for in infants, are as follows, does not respond when talked to or touched, never smiles or cries, or may cry often being very difficult to soothe or comfort, unmotivated in play, or does not play well with others, digestive disorders such as constipation and diarrhea, problems with eating or sleeping, and failure to gain a healthy amount of weight. The warning signs and symptoms to look for in children, age groups five through fourteen are as follows, persistent unhappiness, a negative attitude, constant complaining, chronic boredom, lack of initiative, uncontrolled anger with aggressive or destructive behavior, hitting themselves or others, kicking, banging their heads on objects, such as walls, tables, and possibly hitting their head with a bat, continual disobedience, easily perturbed, frequent crying, low self-esteem, overly sensitive, inability to pay attention, remember, or make decisions, is distracted easily, their mind goes blank, may be extremely self conscious, some times not speaking or over speaking to the point of exhaustion. The warning signs and symptoms to look for in young people, age groups fifteen to twenty-five are as follows, physical symptoms such as dizziness, reoccurring headaches, stomachaches, neck aches, arms, and legs that hurt due to muscle tension, digestive disorders, obsession with death themes in movies or literature, music, drawings, constantly speaking of death or death related subjects, and in some cases an infatuation with guns and knives, or weapons of mass destruction. The warning signs and symptoms to look for in elderly people, age groups sixty-five and older are as follows, making last request, or making out a will, loss of appetite, energy, strength, a dramatic increase or decrease in weight, feelings of worthlessness, irritability, mood swings or constant complaining. Those are just a few things one should look for when it comes to finding out if someone is giving out warning signs that they need help, and if one suspects that someone they know is suicidal. They should take the matter very serious, and they should try to get help for that person as soon as possible (SAVE).

People everywhere have the responsibility to help in the prevention of suicide. Anyone can help stop suicide. All one has to do is put others before themselves; especially when it comes to their feelings. Everyone should try to do as much as they can, to help in the prevention of suicide. Anyone can help just by trying to be the friend of a suicidal person and letting them express their feelings, such as pain, hurt, anger, and rage. That in it self may help prevent that person from committing suicide, but at the same time, it is not always enough. One should not forget to remind these people that suicide is never the answer, and that if they do commit suicide, they are committing the most selfish act possible. Most of all one should just learn not to be selfish themselves, that way they can be the example suicidal people need them to be, but that is where one should start not finish, because the war against suicide never stops. The war is still being won and lost at this very time, and this very hour, so one must realize that they need to take the next step, which would be to get involved in their community. The battle never stops, neither should one give up on the hope of winning the war against suicide, and whatever may cause people to be suicidal (Gardner and Rosenberg 85-102).


Work Citied

Centers for Disease Control. Suicide. 30 April 2014
< http://ww.cdc.gov/ncicp/fact_book/26_Suicide.htm >.

Gardner, Sandra with Gary Rosenberg, M.D. Teenage Suicide. New Jersey: Julian Messner, 2012.

SAVE. SAVE Suicide Awareness Voices of Education. 30 April 2014
< http://www.save.org/depressed/symptoms.html >.

Schleifer, Jay. Everything You Need To Know About Teen Suicide. New York: The Rosen Publishing Group, 2011.


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