December 5, 2014 

It has been almost four months since the world was stunned by the suicide of Robin Williams, a talent who brought laughter and insight to so many of us. There was widespread media coverage about the suicide "epidemic" immediately following his death. I am revisiting the conversation to continue awareness about suicide prevention.  By reducing risks and enhancing protective factors, we can collectively decrease the alarming growth in suicides and serious self-injury; in addition, we can minimize the risk that our loved ones will go down that path. 


Scope of Problem in the U.S. 

Every 15 minutes someone dies by suicide. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, with more than 40,000 dying and 480,000 treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries in 2012. It is the 2nd leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24. In a CDC sampling, nearly 16% of students in grades 9-12 seriously considered attempting suicide in the 12 months prior to the study. Suicide among males is four times more likely than among females, although females are more likely to have suicidal thoughts and make non-life threatening attempts. The suicide rate for adults 75+ is 16.3%. (CDC)

When Thoughts Lead to Actions:  
Risk Factors
In Thomas Joiner's seminal work, Why People Die By Suicide, he posits that the intersection of three primary factors make suicide an outcome: a low sense of belonging; a feeling of being burdensome; and a sense of fearlessness that overcomes the intense human desire to live.  As he puts it, persons who are successful in their suicide efforts have "a desire and a willingness to die." There are specific risk factors (as differentiated from warning signs), some of which follow:
  • a previous suicide attempt
  • depression
  • substance abuse
  • chronic pain
  • history of trauma
  • access to lethal means

    Common Misperceptions

  • people who talk about hurting themselves will never do it
  • asking about suicidal ideation may give someone the idea
  • people who commit suicide had been unwilling to seek help
  • if a person is determined to commit suicide, nothing will stop him or her

  • Suicide Prevention Strategies & Resources:
  • If you are worried about a friend or loved one, ask them. Talking can be a relief.
  • Listen to their concerns. Provide support.
  • Offer hope.
  • Refer them to a doctor or mental health professional.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
  • Suicide Prevention Resource Center:

  • Take Action and Get Positive Results 

    If you or a loved one are struggling with hopelessness and thoughts of suicide, there is help.  Research shows that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other therapeutic interventions can reduce suicide risk. (SPRC) To minimize danger for you or a loved one, establish easy access to a mental health or other knowledgeable professional, encourage connectedness with family and community, and help develop problem solving skills.  Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or 911 for immediate intervention.  


    At Core Counseling, you can pursue Mind-Body Wellness through Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness and other therapeutic techniques. To find out more or to schedule an appointment, call me at Core Counseling, LLC: 201.875.5699. Experience a comfortable, private and confidential environment with an atmosphere of encouragement, optimism and compassion. 

    Together we can find solutions to your core issues. "It's not what happens to us that makes us happy or sad, it's what we think about what happens to us." Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

    In Health,

    Lisa Fedder, MSW, LCSW, LCADC
    560 Sylvan Avenue                     108 Baker Street
    Englewood Cliffs, NJ  07632       Maplewood, NJ  07040
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