Understand & Learn About Depression and Suicide
Depressive illness effects almost 21 million American adults in any given year, while nearly everyone thinks about suicide at some time in his or her life. We’re sharing facts about depression and suicide from the American Association of Suicidology to spread accurate information on this illness and support you or someone in your life in the important decision to seek out help.
What is Depression
Depression is the prevalent mental health disorder and the lifetime risk for depression is 6-25%. There are two types of depression. Major depression presents symptoms that interfere with a person’s ability to function in all areas of life, including work, family and sleep. Dysthymia, a less severe depression, impedes a person’s ability to function at normal levels. A family history of depression increases your chances of having depression by 11x.
Treatment of depression is effective 60-80% of the time, however less than 25% of people with depression receive the proper treatment. If no treatment is sought out, depression can lead to other mental disorders including alcohol and substance abuse, higher rates of recurrent episodes and a higher rate of suicide.
Common Symptoms of Depression
- Depressed mood (feeling sad or empty)
- Lack of interest in activities you use to enjoy
- Significant weight loss or weight gain, and increases or decreases in appetite
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Feelings of agitation, restlessness or irritability
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
- Inability to think or concentrate or indecisiveness
- Recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal ideation, suicide attempts or plans for completing suicide
Links Between Depression and Suicide
Major depression is the psychiatric diagnosis most commonly associated with suicide. The lifetime rate of suicide among individuals with untreated depressive disorders is nearly 20%. However, if treated the suicide rate of patients falls to 141 per 100,0000.
Facts About Suicide
Suicide is preventable. Most people contemplating suicide desperately want to live, but they are unable to see alternatives to their problems. Most suicidal people give definite warning signs of their intentions.
Suicide Warning Signs
- Talk about suicide, death or having no reason to live
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Withdrawing from family, friends and social activity
- Recent severe loss or threat of significant loss, a relationship for example
- Drastic changes in behaviors
- Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Preparation of death, for example making a will or final arrangements
- Giving away prized possessions
- Previous attempts of suicide
- Taking unnecessary risks, being reckless or being impulsive
- Loss of interest in personal appearance
- Increase in drug and alcohol use
- Expressing a sense of hopelessness
- History of violence or hostility
- Unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers
Suicidal Feeling, Thoughts and Behaviors
Someone contemplating suicide often feels like their situation is inescapable. They feel that they:
- Can’t stop the pain
- Can’t think clearly or make a decision
- Can’t see a way out
- Can’t sleep, eat or work
- Can’t get out of the depression
- Can’t make the sadness go away
- Can’t see the possibility of change
- Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
- Can’t get someone’s attention
- Can’t seem to get control
If you experience feelings of depression and suicide, get help! If you know someone who is experiencing these feelings, offer help. Contact Fairmount Behavioral Health System at 215-487-4100. Fairmount provides free assessments 24 hours a day, seven days a week.