MIND MATTERS: Suicide Awareness

A person commits suicide every 11 minutes.
Published: May. 25, 2023 at 8:33 PM CDT
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SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States; it was responsible for more than 48,000 deaths in 2021.

Among those who have died by suicide, 46% have a diagnosed mental health condition and 90% have experienced symptoms of a mental health condition. With 12.3 million individuals who have had serious thoughts about suicide, 3.5 million have made a plan and 1.7 million have attempted suicide. A person commits suicide every 11 minutes.

Dr. Laura Baxter, Director at the Institute for Childhood Resilience, says the voice in our head can lead an individual to feel hopeless.

“Left to our own devices, the voices in our head tends to not be very friendly and we default to self-doubt and uncertainty very quickly. And when that is coupled with difficult circumstances, the end result can be a feeling of hopelessness,” Dr. Baxter explained.

With suicide rates on the rise, it’s important to know the distress signs to help avoid desperate actions and devastating outcomes.

“Isolation is a huge risk factor. If you notice that someone is pulling away from interacting in relationships that have been normal in everyday occurrences for them, that is something to really pay attention to. And when people don’t ask for help, it’s important that we let them know we are here to help,” Dr. Baxter said.

Some groups have higher suicide rates than others, but individuals who work as first responders, healthcare workers and the military are considered high risk.

“Individuals who have been active-duty military tend to have higher rates of suicide. If you think about it, these are individuals experiencing conditions that are not normal. They are faced with traumatic events on a regular basis, depending on what kind of work they are doing, and they are expected to manage their own emotions,” the doctor said.