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Let's Talk About: Suicide

Did you know that suicide is the tenth leading cause of death among US citizens? It's also the second leading cause of death among children and teens in America. Here in Colorado, it's the leading cause of death among teens. According to the CDC, there are two times as many deaths by suicide each year than deaths by homicide. So why aren't we talking more about suicide prevention?

Death by suicide is highly stigmatized. Yet so many people, especially our youth, contemplate ways to kill themselves. Families who lose a loved one to suicide are less likely to talk about it or get the needed support. And people who are thinking about death don't know who or where to turn to. In this blog addition, we'd like to dispel some common myths:

Myth: talking about suicide will give someone the idea to kill themselves.

Did you know that talking about suicide can PREVENT suicide? So many people think that talking about suicide with their children or teens can "put the idea in their heads." The data does not support this idea. In fact, being open, honest, and communicating with loved ones can help those who are suffering share their feelings and get the help they need. Asking your kids or loved ones if they've ever thought of taking their own lives, how they would do it, and where they would go if they started having these thoughts can help you effectively safety plan.

Myth: taking antidepressants increases the rates of suicide

The leading cause of death by suicide is untreated mental illness. There is a black box warning on most psychiatric medications stating the medications can increase suicide thoughts. However, there's a lot more complexity to this issue. We know that getting people into treatment is important. Talk to your psychiatrist about the risks or benefits of being on medication for your symptoms.

Myth: people who die by suicide are weak or selfish

People who are depressed are suffering, and often cannot see the light at the end of the tunnel. Depression is a disease that changes how we think, act, and feel. People with depression often think they are a burden on others. They don't see another way out. Depression lies to you, makes you feel worthless. It's important to help our loved ones feel safe and secure, and remind them of the support that can be provided

What are some other myths about suicide you want to dispel? Comment below! If you or someone you know is at risk for or contemplating death by suicide, reach out to, or call the national suicide hotline 1-800-273-8255.

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