Meetings & Conventions: Short Cuts July 2000
Do you have a close friend or relative who has attempted
suicide? Almost half of us do, according a survey by the American
Foundation for Suicide Prevention (www.afsp.org), based in New York City.
But while suicide accounts for 30,000 deaths in this country each
year, it’s a topic we rarely talk about.
Even more alarming: Fewer than half of those who survive a
suicide attempt get treatment or therapy after the incident.
Depression is the leading cause of suicide. One-third of
clinically depressed patients try to kill themselves and half
succeed, according to AFSP. Most (75 percent) first give some sort
of warning to family or friends.
People must learn to recognize warning signs and take action to
intervene, stresses the AFSP’s president, Dr. David Shaffer. Red
flags include talking about death or suicide and getting personal
affairs in order. Previous attempts also are cause for concern: Up
to half of those who kill themselves have tried it before.
If you’re worried about someone close to you, take warning signs
very seriously; listen openly to her concerns; reassure her that
these feelings are temporary; strongly encourage professional help;
and, in a crisis situation, take her to a hospital or call 911.
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