This summer, I am doing my fieldwork at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline‘s office located in New York City. I am helping with an Online campaign that is targeting the youth. Because we are still constructing the website and everything else, I will ask you to stay tuned. I will disclose everything when the campaign is officially launched sometime in July. Bare with me…
In the meantime, let’s discuss the issue at hand here. As the name of the organization suggest it, we are focusing on suicide . Even though the Lifeline is primarily a resource for those in crisis, mental health is not totally ignored because in many cases, the underlying causes are preventable and treatable.
So what are the risk factors of suicide? According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention at least 90 % of people who terminate their lives have diagnosable and treatable psychiatric illnesses such as major depression, bipolar depression, stress, personality disorder, etc. There are also other causes such as genetic predisposition ( family history of suicide attempts, suicide, depression and mental illnesses) , social determinants ( the rates of suicide are higher when economic situations are bad for example), substance abuse, etc.
Suicide is a public health issue that must not be taken lightly. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Every year, almost one million people die from suicide; a “global” mortality rate of 16 per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds. suicide rates have increased worldwide by 60 % in the past 45 years.
Why target the youth? Because the statistics are alarming. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 2 million U.S. adolescents attempt suicide each year. Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years in some countries, and the second leading cause of death in the 10-24 years age group; these figures do not include suicide attempts which are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicide (World Health Organization). Although traditionally suicide rates have been highest among the male elderly, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of countries, in both developed and developing countries.
Suicide is preventable and everyone can contribute in reducing its rate. So my mission this summer is to raise awareness among the youth on this matter and let them know that there is help and hope. I hope that once the campaign is launched and I can show you what I am working on, you will help me spread the words!