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Saturday, November 17, 2012 is International Survivors of Suicide Day.  Someone dies by suicide every 40 seconds.  Every year, survivors of suicide loss gather together in locations around the world to feel a sense of community, to promote healing, and to connect with others like them.  Up to 15 individuals are intimately touched by the loss of loved one to suicide and are also considered survivors of suicide.

The CDC reported that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Nationally, the suicide rate increased 3.9 percent over 2009 to equal approximately 12.4 suicides per 100,000 people. The rate of suicide has been increasing since 2000. This is the highest rate of suicide in 15 years.  The numbers of those who are survivors of suicide are increasing as well.

Every 13.7 minutes someone in the United States dies by suicide, leaving behind untold survivors of suicide.

Nearly 1,000,000 people make a suicide attempt every year.

90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.

Most people with mental illness do not die by suicide.

Recent data puts yearly medical costs for suicide at nearly $100 million (2005).

Men are nearly 4 times more likely to die by suicide than women. Women attempt suicide 3 times as often as men.

Suicide rates are highest for people between the ages of 40 and 59.

Tennessee ranked 19th in the nation with 943 completed suicides in 2010.

More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders. Major depression, especially when combined with alcohol and/or drug abuse, is particularly lethal.  The symptoms of major depression are feeling “down” or having a depressed mood most of the day; a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyable as well as: changes in sleeping patterns; change in appetite or weight; intense anxiety, agitation, restlessness or being slowed down; fatigue or loss of energy; decreased concentration, indecisiveness or poorer memory; feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-reproach or excessive or inappropriate guilt; recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

Fifty to 75 percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.  If a friend or loved one is showing warning signs, help them get to a mental health professional.  If they are imminently suicidal, take them to the closest hospital ER immediately.  If you are a survivor of suicide, know that ultimately this tragedy was out of your control and that the path to forgiveness begins today.

Fortunately, there is now an Intensive Outpatient Program in Memphis, TN that has been proven to be effective in the treatment of severe depression and individuals with suicidal thoughts, as well as survivors of suicide.   Our programs provide services to those who need more treatment than one hour a week, but less than 24 hour care, by providing three hours of treatment per day, three to five days per week, in an intensive outpatient setting.  If you or a loved one is showing signs of major depression, they should be assessed by a trained mental health professional who can help design a treatment plan that can result in recovery.  Treatment for depression can be highly successful and suicide prevention is possible.  If there is a chance, don’t become a survivor of suicide or leave the legacy of suicide to your family.  Call us at 901-682-6136 to schedule an appointment.