Suicide Prevention

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There is no single cause to suicide. It most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition.

Suicide Rates by Age

In 2015, the highest suicide rate (19.6) was among adults between 45 and 64 years of age. The second highest rate (19.4) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2015, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 12.5.

Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity

In 2015, the highest U.S. suicide rate (15.1) was among Whites and the second highest rate (12.6) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Figure 5). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.4), and Blacks (5.6).

Note that the CDC records Hispanic origin separately from the primary racial or ethnic groups of White, Black, American Indian or Alaskan Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander, since individuals in all of these groups may also be Hispanic.

Suicide Methods

In 2015, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little less than half (49.8%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 26.8% and poisoning at 15.4%.

Suicide Attempts

No complete count is kept of suicide attempts in the U.S.; however, each year the CDC gathers data from hospitals on non-fatal injuries from self-harm.

494,169 people visited a hospital for injuries due to self-harm. This number suggests that approximately 12 people harm themselves for every reported death by suicide. However, because of the way these data are collected, we are not able to distinguish intentional suicide attempts from non-intentional self-harm behaviors.

Many suicide attempts, however, go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that at least one million people in the U.S. each year engage in intentionally inflicted self-harm.

Females attempt suicide twice as often as males. As with suicide deaths, rates of attempted suicide vary considerably among demographic groups. Males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide. The ratio of suicide attempts to suicide death in youth is estimated to be about 25:1, compared to about 4:1 in the elderly.

 

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Speaking up for Children

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Children and adolescents have among the highest rates of conventional crime victimization and, in addition, suffer from some crimes – like sexual abuse and family abduction — specific to childhood. Despite enormous publicity about crime and youth, however, this high vulnerability is seldom mentioned. These facts and statistics about crimes against children are compiled from a variety of sources.

Children suffer rates of conventional crime victimization, like rape, robbery and assault, that are substantially higher than the general adult population. They also suffer a considerable burden of victimizations that are specific to being children – child maltreatment, neglect and emotional abuse. Unfortunately, crimes against children are considerably less likely to come to police attention than crimes against adults. Even so, the police see more children in the role of crime victim than in the role of crime offender.  It is thus ironic that crimes committed by children  — juvenile delinquency – receive considerably more official attention than crimes committed against children. This is reflected in courses in college curricula devoted entirely to Juvenile Delinquency or the Federal government’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, which is concerned about juvenile victims, but only has delinquency in its title.

Each year, countless children around the world fall prey to sexual predators. These young victims are left with permanent psychological, physical, and emotional scars. When a recording of that sexual abuse is made or released onto the Internet, it lives on forever. It haunts the children depicted in it, who live daily with the knowledge that countless strangers use an image of their worst experiences for their own gratification.

Predators Face Severe Penalties

Several laws increase the probability that sexual predators who harm children will suffer severe consequences, including the Mann Act, the 1994 Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Act, the 2003 Protect Act and the 2006 Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act. Federal law bars U.S. residents from engaging in sexual or pornographic activities anywhere in the world with a child under 18. ICE works with law enforcement agencies and advocacy groups around the globe to investigate crimes of this nature. Those convicted in the United States face significant penalties:

  • Up to 30 years in prison for possession, manufacture, distribution of child pornography
  • Up to 30 years in prison for traveling child sex offender, facilitator of sex with children, or a participant in these crimes
  • Up to a life sentence for sex trafficking children for prostitution

Never judge

I hate when people make jokes about cutting, suicide, or eating disorders because you don't know what the people around you have been through. It hurts Picture Quote #1

Recognizing the signs of bullying can be an instrumental part to reversing the trend between eating disorders and bullying.  Often, children and adolescents who are bullied will not speak up or ask for help for fear of rejection, humiliation, or punishment.  Parents, teachers, coaches, and other adults who interact regularly with children should be aware of the many warning signs that may indicate someone is affected by bullying.  According to StopBullying.Gov, The following are common signs that a child is being bullied [3]:

  • Unexplainable injuries
  • Changes in sleeping patterns or reoccurring nightmares
  • Loss of interest in school, declining grades,
  • Avoidance of social situations
  • Changes in eating patterns, such as binge eating or skipping meals.
  • Frequent complaints of physical ailments, such as headaches or stomach aches
  • Decreased self-esteem or feelings of helplessness
  • Personal property that is lost or destroyed, such as clothing, electronics, books, etc.

If you suspect that your child or someone close to you is being bullied, it is important to seek out help immediately and not ignore the issue.  People in authority, such as school officials or counselors, can play a helpful role in mediating and resolving conflict.  Being more than a bystander can prevent episodes of bullying from reoccurring or escalating into something more damaging, such as an eating disorder.

Scale trauma

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Scale trauma is real and we cannot afford to ignore its negative impact on eating disorder recovery.

There isn’t a doubt in my mind that one of the reasons I am Recovered today is because I wasn’t exposed to scale trauma during my recent recovery. I haven’t stepped on a scale in two and a half years. In fact, my therapist and I never used my physical appearance as a metric to track my progress (this was hard for me but important). The focus was on my thoughts and behaviors. I didn’t feel shame for having eating disorder thoughts and/or behaviors during recovery because I knew having them, confronting them, challenging them and diffusing them was part of recovery. She and I tracked my progress by how my thoughts, language and behavior evolved. Removing scale trauma had a positive impact on my recovery because it opened up space to heal.

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This isn’t a call to action to remove all scales from eating disorder recovery (although wouldn’t that be awesome!) I recognize the use of scales in eating disorder recovery is deeply ingrained and even well-intentioned. This is a call to action to start talking about scale trauma. To acknowledge and address the negative impact of scale trauma in eating disorder recovery and start talking about other, less traumatic, metrics.

 

The road to healing

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Many times amidst the road of recovery our lives are challenged with deeply distressing or disturbing experiences, situations which are considered traumatic. Some of the more obvious events which are thought of when considering the concept of trauma are death of a loved one, loss of financial stability or a job, or the diagnosis of a serious health condition as cancer.

But many other experiences trigger feelings that are deeply distressing or disturbing, and thus may also be classified as trauma. Situations like moving to a new city, starting a new job or attending a new school, going through a breakup or dealing with long distance in a relationship also are events that can be deeply affecting emotionally.

An Unhealthy Coping Mechanism

An eating disorder, when active, can become a coping mechanism for dealing with emotions and other challenges, and in many ways protects an individual from fully experiencing emotions such as sadness, frustration, anger, but also blunts and numbs positive feelings such joy, happiness, and contentment.

It can effectively bring down the range of emotion and depth of experience of all feelings, and like addictions to drugs or alcohol, protects the “user” from other experiences. When stepping into a place of recovery, emotions suddenly become more vivid, as the haze of an eating disorder through which they once were experienced is removed.

Deep feelings of sadness, anger, or uncertainty, which were once coped with by restricting or vomiting, suddenly become strong emotions.

When trauma occurs, it is important to acknowledge the impact it has on our lives. Despite the impulse and desire to use behaviors like binging and purging or restricting to avoid feeling the deep emotions, this does not have to be a choice.

Through the process of recovery, a wide variety of coping skills have been learned, whether they were intentionally sought out or just rediscovered through the steps of healing and treatment. A choice can be made to feel the emotions, to call a friend or mentor, or to discovery meaning via writing or reading an uplifting book.

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In a world with loneliness and lonely thoughts I regain my faith in ways I can’t understand and in ways I cant comprehend. It saddens my heart to go through so much and see all the lives that God has touched. It amazes me how much I pray and pray and how much my loneliness continue to stay. I will push myself and give myself away my life is truly not my own. Thank you Heavenly Father my comforter, the best love I’ve ever known; the love of You.