Tragically in the United Kingdom
alone there are over 5000 deaths by suicide and over 100,000 attempts at suicide every single year. The World Health Organisation estimates that in the year 2000 approximately one million people world wide
committed suicide; thats one death every 40 seconds. The tragedy is that the vast majority of these suicides could, with treatment,
have been prevented.
Consultant Dr Anthony Clare
and Spike Milligan in their book Depression and How to Survive it, say that suicide is:
in perhaps all but a small number...."
Untreated clinical depression,
with feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, loneliness, isolation, and self-worthlessness, is the number one cause of the
majority of suicide.
DEPRESSION AND SUICIDE
Clinical depression is one
of the most treatable conditions we can develop. It is a real, biological illness
partly caused by low levels of certain mood lifting hormones secreted by the brain.
When we become depressed, the illness can actually alter our thinking, something which psychologists call depressive
thinking. This can cause us to think more pessimistically, and negatively
about ourselves, our family, other people, our depression, our future and the world in general. Depression can also contribute to feelings of self-worthlessness and of hopelessness and this is a potent
concoction. Its important to realise that in depression our thinking can be overly
negative. We are more liable to see the negative and problems can seem magnified
larger than they really are.
"Not withstanding all we have to live for,
the brain in crisis has a perverse
way of having us think the very opposite."
Dr Kevin Malone, M.D. and J.
John Mann, M.D., in their article titled Serotonin and the Suicidal Brain, said that, Suicide attempts are the most serious
complication of major depressive disorder.., they also say that, recent studies in Finland and England suggest that while
major depression is a recognisable and treatable disorder, only a small fraction of suicides with major depression received
adequate antidepressant treatment prior to their deaths.
The Royal College of Psychiatrists have said that drug and/or
alcohol misuse are known to be associated with increased suicide rates. Research
has indicated that alcohol has a negative effect on the mood lifting hormone called serotonin in the brain and makes us more
vulnerable to depression. Depression and alcohol/drug misuse are a lethal combination
and should be avoided at all costs.
WARNING SIGNS OF SUICIDE
- Becoming depressed or withdrawn
Getting affairs in order and giving away valuable possessions
Alcohol/ drug misuse
Personality changes, ie withdrawn, aggressive, moodiness
Lack of interest in the future
Verbal threats of suicide
Repeatedly referring to self worthlessness.
Showing marked changed in behaviour, attitude or appearance
Previous suicide attempts
At least 70% of all people committing suicide give some clue
as to their intentions before they make an attempt at suicide.
MYTHS ABOUT SUICIDE
There are so many incorrect myths concerning suicide such as People
who threaten suicide dont commit it, Its a form of attention seeking behaviour, asking somebody if they feel suicidal will
put the idea in their mind. These myths are incorrect. You should never dismiss as an idle threat, anybody who threatens suicide.
Professor Robert Priest, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of London says in his book Anxiety: a practical
Guide to Recovery, somebody who talks about suicide is probably 10 100 times more likely to commit suicide as someone who
does not talk about it.
OUR FAMILIES AND FRIENDS LIVES ARE NOT BETTER WITHOUT US
When people suffer severe symptoms of depression they can develop
feelings of hopelessness, despair, their thinking can be so pessimistic that they no longer feel of value or worth, thinking
that their families would be better without them. Yet research on relatives and
friends of people who have committed suicide has shown that they dont feel better now that their relative has committed suicide.
We close this page purposefully on the subject of Hope. Professor Priest says that throughout his career he has dealt with hundreds of people
who have been so depressed that they wanted to commit suicide, he says:
"Almost always this feeling
He goes on to say:
"I cannot emphasize too strongly
matter how sincerely people
the point of crisis that the
right thing to
do is to end their lives, in
the course of
time (and with treatment) they
their suicidal feelings and
be able to
enjoy life again."
of people have been where you are today and have made it through and so can you. As
you read this there are thousands of people standing by wanting to help you through this difficult time.
not worthless, its vital to realise that feelings of suicide, despair, hopelessness and worthlessness are clinical symptoms
of a biological health condition called depression and that depression is a very treatable condition.
Milligan S. Clare A. (1994) Depression and
How to Survive it, Arrow Books.
Priest R (1996) Anxiety and Depression: a Practical Guide to Recovery, Vermillion.
Shamoo T. Patros P., Helping Your Child Cope with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts.
HELP FOR SUICIDE WEB SITES
DEPRESSION SELF TEST
Online Depression Screening Test, New York University School of Medicine