Help end Suicide in our generation

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    Everyone has the potential to make a difference in someone’s life, be it taking time to talk or just show that you care and are there for them. Suicide has touched all of our lives in one fashion or another. Every one of us has either known someone close or a family member that has committed suicide. We should always be vigilant to our surroundings while in contact with friends and family. Look for the signs that someone we know, or love is suffering from depression or suicidal thoughts. One of the greatest problems now is that our government in large does not provide the necessary resources for mental illness or counseling for people with depression. To many times we are denied services that would help us move away form the despair we fill inside because a lot insurance companies will not cover counseling for those suffering mental anguish.

     A recent report from the American Counseling Association shows 90% of suicides that take place in the United States are associated with mental illness, including disorders involving the abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Half of those who die by suicide were afflicted with major depression. The suicide rate of people with major depression is eight times that of the general population. The report also showed in 2009, there were 12 million adults aged 18 or older (5.3%) who reported an unmet need for mental health care in the past year. These included 6.1 million adults who did not receive any mental health services in the past year. Among adults who did receive some type of mental health service in the past year, 19.6% (5.9 million) reported an unmet need for mental health care. According to the National Violent Death Reporting System, approximately 20% of all suicide deaths occur among veterans. An estimated 25 to 30% of the veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported symptoms of a mental disorder or cognitive condition. These soldiers come home with a multitude of mental issues that sometimes are misdiagnosed and are often left untreated due to fear of losing their job with the military or being looked at as weak. It has been reported that the VA over medicates these men and women when they are diagnosed with depression or PTSD. We have seen over the last few years that treatment for our veterans is all to often slow or nonexistent.

     My wife has a friend who last year lost her father and younger brother to suicide. The loss of her brother came less than a year after her father and it has forever changed who she is as a person. I can’t imagine losing a family member this way, much less two in such a short amount of time. She has dealt with darkness for months now and it recently took its toll on her. Unable to deal with the pain in her heart she sank into depression and was admitted into a psychological evaluation unit for her depression. From my own personal experience, I had a family member commit suicide when I was 8 years old. My grandfather suffered from mental issues all his life and on top of that he was an alcoholic. He ended his life in a motel room using a shotgun. My family adored this man and the news of what he did affected my mother for the rest of her life. My sister and I could not understand why he would do this and hurt our mom and why he would leave us, why would he do this. Suicide is a long-term fix for a short time problem. All to often those who are suffering from suicidal thoughts and depression feel as if there is no way out, all that they see is pain in their future. Pain with no way to end it other than death, succumbing to emptiness where there is no hurt, no feeling and no responsibility. This effects every walk of life from young to old, military and nonmilitary, it effects everyone. Another recent survey shows that as high as 35 to 50 percent of people who identify as transgender will commit suicide. A recent report shows that one-third of gay and bisexual students have recently attempted suicide, while 43 percent seriously considered it. The numbers for straight students are 6 percent and 15 percent, respectively. One study suggests that part of the reason for this may be that until recently, they didn’t have access to the medical care they needed and deserved because of their sexual orientation. New laws have been passed that allows a majority of the LGBT community receive medical care and hopefully to receive the mental health care needed to help combat the suicide rate within. As you can see, suicide is one of this generations most pressing issues that we can make a change in. We need to contact our state representatives and congressmen to start work on a bill that can make a significant change in how our healthcare system views and treats mental health issues. Lets be the generation that ends suicide, lets make a change.



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