Two celebrity deaths and release of a landmark national report coincidentally coalesced last week to shine a desperately needed spotlight on a growing but understated public-health menace in our region, our state and our country: suicide.
Statistics show a New Yorker takes their life every five hours.
Suicide rates in the USA have increased by more than 25% since 1999. All states except Nevada saw an increase of at least 6 percent. Topping the list was North Dakota, where suicides have risen by 57 percent from 1999 levels. "In many cases, individuals are already struggling with mental health and the news of a death prompts them to seek help".
We don't know if that would have made a difference in the outcome for Spade or Bourdain or for the 300,000 Americans who commit suicide each year. This project provides suicide prevention information to gun shops, gun owners, etc. with the goal of education toward safe storage and local resources for suicide prevention (http://tspn.org/gun-safety-project).
In the months following Marilyn Monroe's death on August 5, 1962, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found that suicide rates jumped 12 percent in the United States compared with the previous year. Rates increased significantly among males in 34 states, and females in 43 states.
New Jersey Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Shereef Elnahal says that in New Jersey 26 percent of people who die by suicide in a crisis situation told someone else first that it was their intention.
The message comes after Anthony Bourdain took his own life in a hotel room this past Friday in France.
"We often can be concerned about doing more damage by asking questions, but it is likely that you cannot do more damage", Grier said. Both of those are assumptions, and until we have hard data, it won't be clear as to why suicides deaths are spiking.
Most, if not all of us, have experienced challenges. "Mental health and addiction was something that was separated from overall healthcare and therefore there is limited training in medical schools with respect to mental health and addiction types of issues", said Mark Covall, CEO of the National Association for Behavioral Healthcare.
Depression is the leading cause of ill health and disability worldwide. "I'm so destroyed. I love you brother".
Several outlets have publicized the 1-800-273-8255 suicide prevention hotline - People and Entertainment Weekly magazines are using it on their covers - and operators say the hotline has received the largest volume of calls in its history following the celebrity deaths. We all need that. As Americans, we all need to do our part in raising awareness. Someone's life depends on it.