Feds create new strategy to fight suicide
Although people of all ages commit suicide, teens, service members and the military seem to have the highest rates.
September 10th, 2012
04:13 PM ET

Feds create new strategy to fight suicide

A new national strategy, unveiled by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and representatives from the military and the private sector, aims to reduce the number of suicides in the United States.

Suicide, according to the group, is becoming a serious public health problem in America. For every person who commits suicide, more than 30 others attempt  it, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In fact, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the country, claiming more than twice as many lives each year as homicide - and that number is rising.

The 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention hopes to give families, medical personnel and communities more options to help those who may be thinking about suicide. It also strives to allocate more money to clinics to provide help to more people, along with resources to help better diagnose suicide in certain individuals.

According to HHS, although suicide affects all age groups, teens and military personnel, as well as the elderly, seem to have the highest rates.

Health officials say almost 16% of students in grades 9 to 12 report they have seriously considered suicide, while 7.8% have attempted suicide one or more times over the last 12 months.

As for military personnel, “We are losing more of our soldiers to suicide than combat," said John McHugh, secretary of the Army. “Yet only 59 percent of those military personnel who have attempted suicide actually had been deployed overseas or saw battle, so there must be some other factor, other than the aftermath of war. Something must be done."

McHugh pointed to the Veterans Crisis Line, which is a hotline designed for military personnel in crisis, as a good step towards helping military men and women, as well as President Barack Obama’s pledge to provide funding to hire 1,600 more mental health professionals to work with service members who are suffering from depression and PTSD.

The strategy is even incorporating social media. Facebook executives announced the social website will continue with its Report Suicidal Content link, which allows friends to report a suicidal comment posted by other friends. The person who posted the comment will immediately receive an e-mail from Facebook encouraging them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. The toll-free number is comprised of 152 local crisis centers designed to help people who have suicidal thoughts.

“In order to lower these numbers,” Sibelius noted, “We must take action against suicide together, as a community.”

Psychiatrist: I hate suicide but also understand it

soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. EldRick

    If someone wants to check out, who the devil are you to tell them No?

    Seems to me that only religulous zealots think they have any reason to interfere with the suicide of an adult who makes that decision. I hope that I am still capable and have the opportunity when I make that choice.

    September 10, 2012 at 19:02 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon G

      you are an idiot

      September 10, 2012 at 23:31 | Report abuse |
    • aShLeY

      Some people are just trying to help others with making the right choices. I agree with Jon.

      September 13, 2012 at 22:58 | Report abuse |
  2. Mental Health Counseling Student

    Some Simple Steps need to be taken:
    1) Higher compensation for mental health professionals from insurance and the government, which will encourage more highly trained and experienced mental health professionals to participate in Private Insurance, Medicare, and Especially Medicaid. In some areas few therapists and psychiatrists participate, so just having mental health coverage doesn't help. Even in areas where their are plenty of mental health professionals, wait times for people on Medicaid to get adequate care can be many months, which is unacceptable. (in my opinion).

    1A More money for free clinics and compensation for therapists that see uninsured clients for a reduced rate (at least until universal healthcare).

    1B Loan forgiveness for Medical Students who go into Child and Adolescent Psychiatry or Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychiatrists who move to an underserved area, double if they are willing to see medicaid/medicare clients, work in a free/sliding scale clinic or at least participate in insurance. (Many do not).

    2) All primary care doctors, NPs, pediatricians, GPs, OB/GYN etc need to be trained in Brief Mental Health and Suicide Screening! And know how to effectively intervene with a severely depressed and/or suicidal patient walks through the door, as many of them do, in the month leading up to their suicide. Doctors should be compensated for doing a brief mental health screen, so they are more likely to do it. Or at the very least have the patient fill out a survey while waiting for the doctor.

    3) Brief Age-Appropriate Suicide Screening and Mental Health Screening should be part of annual Physicals. (obviously the results would not be included on school or work health forms!!!) Make sure doctors have Appropriate Referrals at their disposal.

    4) Increase the Awareness of National Hotlines and decrease the Stigma of Mental health problems, especially within the military and certain minority groups.

    September 11, 2012 at 00:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Reb

    TALK can not be translated to numbers on all smart phones, making the posted phone number in an emergency situation useless. Therefore, we need to stop using "TALK" in place of the actual numbers when referring to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK. When one is suicidal, the smallest barrier can become the biggest barrier to reaching out.

    September 11, 2012 at 09:38 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Black With The Blues (@BlackWtheBlues)

    Agreed. Before anybody gets the help needed to better mental health, they first have to be open and honest with themselves and loved ones. It really does just start with a talk.


    September 11, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Black With The Blues (@BlackWtheBlues)

    Before anybody gets the help needed to better mental health, they first have to be open and honest with themselves and loved ones. It really does just start with a talk.


    September 11, 2012 at 14:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Samuel

    This is because we pump everyone with psychiatric drugs.DUH! How long are we going to remain asleep for?

    September 12, 2012 at 00:25 | Report abuse | Reply
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    September 13, 2012 at 23:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lance Aron

    Suicide is not an option
    1. If you’re reading this, and if you have suicidal thoughts there is at least a small if not a big part in you that doesn’t want to die. Listen to it, and please read on.
    2. Suicide is final – once it's done, there’s no changing your mind. Since you have even the slightest of doubts, you owe it to yourself to stay alive.
    3. Even if you wait just one day, you may find a reason not to kill yourself in the meantime. Have you ever thought it’s not your job or material situation that makes others happy it’s your very presence your existence that brings meaning to those that love you.
    4. If you’re feeling suicidal, you’re probably in more pain than you know how to handle. There are ways to reduce the pain, and ways to learn to deal with pain. You can learn both – either way things will get better. Nothing lasts forever not even hard times
    5. Just because you’re feeling suicidal doesn’t mean you have to act on that feeling. In fact put it right out your mind because you are not your emotions and although you may feel emotionally troubled, depressed, and anxious in time it will let up. The golden rule is never make any decision based on emotion and definitely when it comes to your life.
    6. Consider this – if you’re trying to escape from the pain you are in and seek relief, suicide is not the answer. You cannot feel relief, or anything else for that matter, if you are dead. You must stay alive in order to feel the relief you seek.
    7. Often when feeling suicidal you feel alone. You are not alone – you found us didn’t you? Turn to your family or friends or a priest or a rabbi – anyone that will listen. If you don’t know whom to turn to, email me on contact@yourstoryunedited.com ,or sms me on my cell 27(code for South Africa)021(Cape Town ) 071 856 58 64 on my cell and I will phone you back no matter where you are in the world. If you in a different time zone I will phone you as soon as I wake up. My name is Lance Aron founder of YSU and I understand how you feel because I suffered depression all my life until 3 years ago. If I had acted on my suicidal feelings I would never have had the chance to live my dream. Negative thinking and a distorted view of life because of emotions that are out of control, is causing you to suffer. Seek help just like anyone would do when they sick and suffering. Mental pain is no different to physical pain and specialist health care practioners can help you. Rather go straight to Hospital and let them tranquilize you until you in apposition to think clearly. This will give you relief and you will still be alive. Remember the scripture a live dog is better than a dead lion. This means as long as you can breath and are alive there is hope, despite how bad your situation appears to be. YES, lots of hope.
    8. By terminating your life right now, you terminate your future. Consider this – we create our own future. You have the power to create whatever future you wish for yourself. But you need to be alive in order to have that future.
    9. If you’re sensitive enough to be in so much pain that you no longer want to live, you’re probably sensitive enough to care about, and want to help others. Maybe you don’t feel like helping anyone else right now, but why not help yourself? And perhaps by not killing yourself and overcoming your difficulties you can later help someone else who is in a similar situation.
    10. Finally, don’t do it because I’m personally asking you not to until I have had a chance to speak with you. Whatever you’re feeling, whatever you’re going through, things can get better – I know because I’ve been there. Maybe I haven’t experienced exactly what you have, but I understand what you feeling and it will and can better
    Choose to persevere and through your endurance you will gain wisdom and learn how to help others in need
    My book 2 billion 488 million seconds to live your dream will show you how I went from rags to riches in every aspect of my life when I broke free from negative thinking .www.yourstoryunedited.com.
    Lance Aron. Founder YSU
    read yourstoryunedited on Facebook a site designed to help you cope and prosper or buy the book on http://www.yourstoryunedited.com called 2 billlion seconds to live your dream.

    September 28, 2012 at 23:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. mike gift

    need assistance. i feel like committing suicide right away. i have tried to hold on to life but my situaion is beyond me. please help. my number is 0027786473182

    September 29, 2012 at 11:48 | Report abuse | Reply
    • suicideisnottheanswer

      mike gift,
      give your situation to God. He is bigger than any situation and can take it off your shoulders.
      "Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens."
      Psalm 68:18-20

      October 3, 2012 at 21:12 | Report abuse |
    • Lance Aron

      Dear Mike I only got this message now How are you coping with depression?.X.Lance

      January 6, 2015 at 15:34 | Report abuse |
  10. Tushar

    You can still call people like Samaritans if you need soeonme to talk to.It depends on where you are but there are usually disorder specific helplines. Try googling the disorder or subject you want to talk about and then help line.

    November 16, 2012 at 03:13 | Report abuse | Reply
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