Friday, November 9, 2007

6 Months

Six months ago someone I love chose to take his own life. In six months I have learned a great deal. While suicide is often referred to as a permanent solution to a temporary problem, I have come to understand that he was incapable of seeing the problem as temporary, and that he truly thought he was doing the right thing, not just for himself, but for everyone.

This is what else I've learned in the past six months:

  • Over 30,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
  • Currently, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States.
  • Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
  • There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.

Those are just some of the stats. What they don't tell you is that the loss of a loved one to suicide is very different than any other loss. I can't explain how or why, it just is. If you've experienced it, you know, and if you have not, I pray you never do. What I have also learned is that each person's grief is different, and as individual as their loss. We deal with it in our own way and on our own time - it just takes whatever it takes.

Saturday, November 17, 2007, is National Survivors of Suicide Day. Created by U.S. Senate resolution and always held on the Saturday before Thanksgiving, National Survivors of Suicide Day is part of a growing movement towards educating the public about suicide and its aftermath. For more information, you can visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

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