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According to a recent survey, most Americans think taking care of one’s mental health is vital to one’s overall health, however just half of them realize that depression and anxiety contribute to suicide risk and many people think that finding help is fairly difficult. Over half (53%) of participants in the survey didn’t realize that people suffering from panic disorders or anxiety were at risk for committing suicide, although they did know that people with PTSD and depression have an increased risk of suicide. The Anxiety & Depression Association of America, along with the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention commissioned the Harris Poll to conduct this survey, in which 2,020 adults 18 years of age and over participated.

Over the past 30 years, suicide rates for the most part have remained constant. More than 40,000 individuals take their lives every year in the United States. This is our country’s tenth leading cause of death. Veterans make up 22% of suicides in America, according to an analysis done in 2012 by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

The analysis also revealed that almost 90% of Americans put an equal value on mental and physical health, and younger people especially are starting to accept the reality of mental health issues. But, actually making an appointment to see a mental health practitioner is viewed by approximately 40% of people in the U.S. as a sign of strength, which indicates that the other 60% may see this as a sign of weakness.

Another finding of the study indicate that people with mental health conditions are being under-diagnosed. Although about 1/3 of the adults surveyed had a diagnosed mental health condition, 47% said they thought they’d perhaps had a mental health condition at one point, with almost 1/3 of them thinking they were suffering from a panic or anxiety disorder and 28% felt they were dealing with depression. Both depression and anxiety contribute to suicide risk. 

Americans were more apt to get the type of care they needed if a professional diagnosed them. The most common type of treatment for mental health issues was talk therapy, which 29% received, then came prescription medication at 25%. The survey showed that most Americans think that suicide can be prevented with some of these types of treatments.

Although mental health conditions of anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder do contribute to suicide risk, they are rarely the only reason someone takes their life. When these conditions co-occur, depression and anxiety contribute to suicide risk. Other factors that seem to influence suicide would be job loss, life circumstances, relationship issues, bullying, financial problems as well as alcohol and drug use.

When survey participants were asked what stood in the way of them seeking help, 74% said it was because they didn’t feel like anything would help, and 65% simply said they were embarrassed. Almost all the adults taking the survey said they would take action if they knew that someone was contemplating suicide, despite the stigma. They would either encourage the person at risk to seek help from a doctor, mental health professional or clergy; give them the number of a crisis center or stay with them so they couldn’t hurt themselves until they got help.

If you or a loved one is showing signs of depression or anxiety, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan for depression that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression and anxiety can be highly successful and people who have completed our program have resulted in our treatment program receiving very highly consumer satisfaction scores and reviewsCall us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.

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