The study, which tracked suicide statistics from 1999 through 2016, found that overall suicide rates in the United States have increased by 30%, with mental health issues one of many contributing factors.
Most experts agree that a lack of good mental health care is at the core of the suicide problem. When some younger reporters at a major national news organization urged that the suicide hotline be publicized following last week's deaths, an editor said that it wasn't their job because "we're not social workers", said Kelly McBride, media ethicist for the Poynter Institute.
Jane Pearson, chair of the Suicide Research Consortium at the National Institute on Mental Health, said that worry amongst people studying the phenomenon is growing. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. Twenty-five states, Arkansas among them, experienced suicide-rate increases of greater than 30 percent; Arkansas' rate was up almost 37 percent. Clearly, we needn't wait for yet another celebrity or loved one to self-destruct before launching a sustained and aggressive campaign to repel suicide and its many complex triggers. Physicians and nurses commit suicide more often than average Americans, with rates higher for women in both professions. During Governor Bill Haslam's administration, he and his team dedicated funding to the Office of the Deputy Medical Examiner to enable Medical Examiners in Tennessee to utilize updated reporting technologies as well as receive more information of suicide and training, leading to better reporting.
"One of the things we keep coming back to when these surprising events happen is you never know what is in somebody's head", he said. In more than half of the cases, the deceased had no diagnosed mental illness.
As cliche as it sounds, suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Rasgon also worries that some people might be treating symptoms of depression, like chronic physical pain, with drugs that are designed for other purposes (rather than medication for depression).
"We've had a tremendous increase in call volume- over 100 percent increase in call volume since Friday", says NJ Hopeline clinician supervisor William Zimmerman. She says such subtle symptoms as someone losing their temper more easily or whose sleep patterns and normal behavior have changed should prompt a caring conversation that might avert a potential tragedy. He has survived several suicide attempts and experienced lifelong depression before receiving treatment as an adult that helped alleviate his illness. You can also talk to someone online by following this link.
None of us is immune to thoughts of suicide, regardless of status, party, religion, age, or gender.