What to Know About Suicide Survivor’s Day

November 22, 2016

Suicide is among the top three causes of death in Shiawassee County. Nationwide, it’s the 10th leading cause of death, as 42,773 die each year by suicide. In Michigan, one person dies by suicide approximately every 6.5 hours. Suicide costs our state a total of $1,501,780,000 of combined lifetime medical and work loss.

Its impact is devastating to our communities. There’s no single cause to it, however it most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. In an awareness-building and coping effort, November 19th is designated as International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day.

For this day, people affected by suicide loss gather around the world at events in their local communities to find comfort and gain understanding as they share stories of healing and hope. The event includes a screening of “Life Journeys: Reclaiming Life after Loss,” a documentary that traces the grief and healing journey that follows a suicide loss over time.

Suicide is widespread and touches many people. Grappling with this horrid circumstance involves driving awareness and discussions about the underlying health issues associated with suicide.

When depression, anxiety, and substance abuse go unaddressed, it increases the risk for suicide. Behavioral changes and a sudden presence of entirely new behaviors are two big warning signs. If the behavioral changes are due to a painful event, loss or change, concern should increase. Most people who take their lives display one or more warning signs.

The warning signs for suicide can be broken down into three categories: verbal, behavior, and mood. A person could be suicidal if they are talking about being a burden, feeling trapped, or having no reason to live. Behaviorally, they could be if they are increasing alcohol or drug consumption, acting recklessly, giving away prized possession, or isolating from family and friends. As for mood, they could be suicidal if they are displaying a loss of interest, rage, anxiety or depression.

In addition to warning signs, there are suicidal risk factors like health, environmental and historical. Health factors include depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and psychotic disorders. Environmental factors include stressful life events, access to lethal means, and prolonged stress factors. Historical factors comprise previous suicide attempts and a family history of attempts.

International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day is about survivors coming together and sharing their experiences. Suicide touches more than just the victim and the result can be difficult to deal with. You can search for events near you here.

Additionally, if you are unable to attend an event in person, you can join a 90-minute online program that includes a screening of “Life Journeys” and a discussion on coping with a suicide loss. Details for the program are available at afsp.org.