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Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.Allan Schwartz, Ph.D.
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Suicide Prevention Week

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. Updated: Sep 12th 2012

Suicide Prevention WeekSeptember 10th was the beginning of "Suicide Prevention Week" in the United States. This is part of a world wide effort to prevent suicide. The information in this blog comes from The National Council for Behavioral Healthcare and this can be found on the internet at:

Some of the statistics reported by the National Council are startling:

8.7 million people report having serious thoughts about suicide.
2.5 million made suicide plans.
1.0 people attempted suicide.

Those who are unemployed are more likely to attempt suicide than those who are employed.

What is even more startling is that suicide is:

1. The second leading cause of death among children. The high rate clusters around teenagers between 15 and 19. It's important to point out that younger children attempt suicide. Nine per 100,000 children ages 10 to 14 attempt suicide.
2. The fourth leading cause of death among people between 18 and 65.
3. Suicide is the second most common cause of death in the U.S. military.

Some of the risk factors for suicide are:

1. Depression and other mental disorders, or a substance-abuse disorder (often in combination with other mental disorders). More than 90 percent of people who die by suicide have these risk factors prior to a suicide attempt.
2. Family history of mental disorder or substance abuse.
3. Family history of suicide.
4. Family violence, including physical or sexual abuse.
5. Firearms in the home, the method used in more than half of suicides.
6. Incarceration.
7. Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others, such as family members, peers, or media figures.

When should you call for help at a suicide prevention hotline:

*Feeling like you want to die.
*Feeling trapped or like you cannot handle the pain.
*Feeling hopeless and there is no reason to live.
*Searching for ways to kill yourself.
*Feeling like you cannot talk to anyone and would rather be alone.
*Drinking more alcohol or using more drugs.
*Feeling you are a burden to others.
*Sleeping too little or too much.
*Feeling anxious or agitated.
*Wanting to seek revenge.

Any or all of these are good reasons to call for help.

What should I do if I think someone is suicidal?

If you think someone is suicidal, do not leave him or her alone. Try to get the person to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. Eliminate access to firearms or other potential tools for suicide, including unsupervised access to medications. Always take suicide threats very seriously.

If you are in a crisis and need help right away: Call this toll-free number, available 24 hours a day, every day: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). You will reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a service available to anyone. You may call for yourself or for someone you care about. All calls are confidential.

Your comments and questions are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.

Readers who live in the Boulder, Colorado metro area, or in Southwest Florida may contact Dr. Schwartz for face-to-face consultation. He is also available for psychotherapy through Skype video for those who are not in Florida or Colorado. He can be reached via email at for details.

Reader Comments
Discuss this issue below or in our forums.

zoom - Matthew - Sep 13th 2012

"*Sleeping too little or too much.

*Feeling anxious or agitated."


Those are for people who actually have suicidal thoughts or plans? If not, way to overreact imo. "I sleep too much, gonna call 911 for suicide help!"

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