September is Suicide Prevention Month

Published 9:56 am Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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To the Editor:
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. World Suicide Prevention Day is September 10. Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2020 when 44,834 Americans died from suicide. In 2021 the number had increased to 47,646. In 2022 the U.S. recorded the highest number of annual suicides ever with 49,449. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported fentanyl as the leading cause of death and suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans ages 18 to 45.
People should take suicide seriously and know the warning signs of severe depression and possible suicide attempt and what to do. For those in a crisis situation, emergency care should be sought immediately. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) – to speak with a crisis intervention counselor. They have made it easier to call as 988 has been designated as the new three-digit code that will route callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The previous 1-800-273-TALK (8255) number will continue to function indefinitely. The Tennessee Suicide Prevention Network can be reached at Singer Naomi Judd helped advocate for mental health in Tennessee, but sadly lost her struggle to mental health. Research shows people who are having thoughts of suicide feel relief when someone talks with them in a caring way. A counselor will tell them feelings change and their crisis is temporary, but death isn’t. We have some outstanding Christian counselors in the Elizabethton area such as Art Webb and Brian Scott.
In the U.S., suicide rates are highest among American Indian, Alaska Native and white populations. White men accounted for 70 percent of suicide deaths in the U.S. Black Americans have a 70 percent lower suicide rate than white populations. The high rate of suicide among whites contradicts and disproves those in the media and Hollywood who wrongly claim all whites have an unfair white privilege. Having fame and great riches doesn’t prevent one from being depressed and committing suicide as evident from the suicide of actors like Robin Williams. Most people who die of suicide suffered with major depression. The risk of suicide in people with major depression is about 20 times higher than the general population. Each person is different so researchers don’t know what causes depression. It can be caused by a combination of things. For some, depression is caused by thyroid problems or vitamin deficiency. Women have had major depression from taking the wrong birth control medication. Lacking B-complex vitamins can cause depression. Meat is an excellent source of B vitamins and minerals. I always feel better after eating a big streak. For many people depression is caused by rejection or loneliness.
According to 61 percent of Americans have stress because they are living paycheck to paycheck because of higher inflation causing higher prices of food, higher car payments and rent. Infectious disease outbreaks such as COVID-19 can cause or increase emotional distress and anxiety. Feeling anxious, confused, overwhelmed, isolated or powerless is more common during an infectious disease outbreak such as COVID. It helps to stay connected with loved ones, relatives and friends. Being on social media isn’t the same as seeing people face to face. In the Bible, Paul said he wanted to see them in person so that their joy could be complete. Becoming active and helping others is a remedy for depression. Visiting lonely people in nursing homes is the Christian thing to do and God will bless you for it. Suicidal tendencies often come to people who are self-absorbed. Americans are more self-absorbed then ever as the Bible correctly predicted there would be more people who are lovers of themselves in the end days. C.S. Lewis said, “Look for yourself and you will find in the long run only hatred, loneliness, despair, rage, ruin and decay. But look for Jesus and you will find Him and with Him everything thrown in!”
Recent studies show that the people of the world are more unhappy and more stressed out than ever. It helps to pray and read the Bible which provides the greatest source of comfort and peace. It also helps to hear music or sing praises to God. My favorite song on YouTube is “This Blood” by Rachel Chapman. It makes me feel better to hear songs or sing songs of Jesus and his love for me. The Bible teaches in Genesis that it was not good for Adam to be alone or isolated. Studies show frequent church goers were half as likely to be depressed and had greatly decreased likelihood of suicide and lived seven years longer. The Bible says in this world you will have troubles especially in these end days but choose life. Christians are to extend grace and mercy to those suffering from depression and those suffering from thoughts of suicide and those caught in the aftermath when it breaks hearts and takes away a loved one. The Bible says Jesus is near to the brokenhearted and Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted!

D.D. Nave

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