Category Archives: suicide

Today is National Suicide Prevention Day

suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts or behaviors, please call one of the numbers below for help.

Crisis Hotline Phone Numbers (Wayne County):

–24-Hour Line Crisis:  (313) 224-7000

–Toll Free Crisis:  (800) 241-4949

–Toll Free Crisis:  (800) 273-8155

–Toll Free Crisis:  (800) 784-2433


For more information and statistics about suicide, please visit one of the links below.

How Many Americans Experienced Mental Illness in the Past Year?

Recent data suggests that 19.9% of adults in the United States have experienced mental illness within the past year. Of the 45 million adults, nearly 9 million (20%) also had a substance use disorder.

SAMHSA’s report, Results from the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use: Mental Health Findings indicates that 11 million, or nearly 5%, of adults had a serious, diagnosable, mental illness that substantially interfered with one or more major life activities in the past year.

In many cases, those experiencing a serious mental disorder also had a co-existing substance use disorder. A substance use disorder is defined as abuse or dependency on alcohol or an illicit drug.

Among those with a serious mental illness in the past year, 25% had a substance use disorder in the past year. This is approximately four times the amount experienced by people who didn’t have a serious mental illness.

Less than 4 in 10 adults with mental illness received mental health services. 

In 2009, an estimated 8 million adults aged 18 or older had serious thoughts of suicide within that year; 3.9% of thoughts occurred among women while 3.5% occurred among men.

Among the adults aged 18-25, 6% had serious thoughts of suicide. Adults aged 26-49 had 4.3% and adults aged 50 or older had 2.3%.

In 2009, 2 million adults made suicide plans in the past year. Among the 1 million adults who attempted suicide last year, 0.8 million reported having made plans for the suicide while 0.2 million hadn’t made suicide plans.

The report concluded that mental illness is more likely among adults who were unemployed (27.7%) vs. adults who were employed full time (17%).  Obviously America’s overall unemployment rate is high, but if you are unemployed and feeling depressed, take the time to volunteer somewhere. Sitting in your house day after day with nothing to do is only going to make you feel worse. Animal shelters, hospitals, senior homes, and zoos are all great places to volunteer. The Humane Society or local shelter can always use volunteers, and giving animals attention who otherwise would have none is a great use of one’s time.

Age and gender may have an effect on mental illness. Young adults (aged 18-25) reported the highest level of mental illness (30%), while participants aged 50 and older had the lowest at 13%. 23% of women and 15% of men reported having a mental illness.

Drug and alcohol use also effects mental health. Out of 10% of adults with a substance use disorder, 2.2 million adults aged 18 and older had serious thoughts of suicide in 2009.  Suicidal thoughts were higher in adults who had abused drugs within the past year over those adults who had not.

Adults with substance abuse dependence or abuse were also more likely to make a suicide plan or actually attempt suicide then adults without substance abuse.

At Apex Behavioral Health, we offer co-existing treatment for substance abuse and mental disorders. Both issues need to be treated in order for a person to get better. Many clinics will focus treatment strictly on substance abuse, but substance abuse and depression or whatever mental disorder it is need to be addressed and treated too. Substance abuse and depression exist simultaneously and need to be treated as such.

Understanding and Helping the Suicidal Individual

Be aware of the warning signs! Are you or someone you love at risk of suicide? Get the facts and take action!

Get help immediately by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-8255 for a referral should you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of the following:

  • Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself.
  • Someone looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking  access to firearms, available pills, or other means.
  • Someone talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of ordinary for the person.

Seek help as soon as possible by contacting a mental health professional or calling 1-800-273-8255 for a referral should you witness, hear, or see anyone exhibiting any one or more of the following:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

Be aware of the facts!

  1. Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
  2. Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warnings or do not know how to respond to them.
  3. Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
  4. Approximately 32,000 Americans kill themselves every year. The number of suicide attempts is much greater and often results in serious injury.
  5. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people aged 15-24, and it is the 8th leading cause of death among all persons.
  6. Youth (15-24) suicide rates increased more than 200% from the 1950’s to the late 1970’s. Following the late 1970’s, the rates for youth suicide have remained stable.
  7. The suicide rate is higher among the elderly (over 65) than any other age group.
  8. Four times as many men kill themselves compared to women, yet three times as many women attempt suicide as compared to men.
  9. Suicide occurs across all age, economic, social, and ethnic boundaries.
  10. Firearms are currently the most utilized method of suicide by essentially all groups (male, female, young, old, non-white, white).
  11. Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one to suicide, and may themselves be at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.

Ways to be helpful to someone who is threatening suicide:

  1. Be aware. Learn the warning signs.
  2. Get involved. Become available. Show interest and support.
  3. Ask if he/she is thinking about suicide.
  4. Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
  5. Be willing to listen. Allow for expression of feelings. Accept the feelings.
  6. Be non-judgmental. Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong, or feelings are good or bad. Don’t lecture on the value of life.
  7. Don’t dare him/her to do it.
  8. Don’t give advice by making decisions for someone else or tell them to behave differently.
  9. Don’t ask ‘why.’ This encourages defensiveness.
  10. Offer empathy, not sympathy.
  11. Don’t act shocked or react negatively. This creates distance.
  12. Dont’ be sworn to secrecy. Seek Support.
  13. Offer hope that alternatives are available, do not offer glib reassurance; it only proves you don’t understand.
  14. Take action! Remove means! Get help from individuals or agencies specialize in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Be Aware of Feelings, Thoughts, and Behaviors

Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks aboutsuicide. Most everyone decides to live because they come to realize that the crisis is temporary and death is not. On the other hand, people in the midst of a crisis often perceive their dilemma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. Frequently, they:

  • Can’t stop the pain
  • Can’t think clearly
  • Can’t make decisions
  • Can’t see any way out
  • Can’t sleep, eat or work
  • Can’t get out of the depression
  • Can’t make the sadness go away
  • Can’t see the possibility of change
  • Can’t see themselves as worthwhile
  • Can’t get someone’s attention
  • Can’t see to get control



  • A community mental health agency like Apex Behavioral Health
  • A school counselor or psychologsit
  • A suicide prevention/crisis intervention center
  • A private therapist
  • A family physician
  • A religious/spiritual leader

National Phone Numbers

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-7600

National Mental Health Association 703-684-7722

Local Phone Numbers

Wayne County 313-224-7000

Washtenaw County 734-936-5900

Oakland County 248-456-0909

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you need to know that you are not alone. By some estimates, as many as 1 in 6 people will become seriously suicidal at some point in their lives. Fortunately, most people do not on their suicidal thoughts – crises pass and problems are solved. However, sometimes thoughts lead to self harm.

Suicide thinking is usually associated with problems that CAN be treated. Clinical depression, anxiety disorders, chemical dependency, and other disorders produce profound emotional distress. They also interfere with effective problem-solving. New treatments are available and studies show that the vast majority of people who receive treatment improve or recover completely.

Even if you have received treatment before, you need to know that different treatments work better for different people in different situations. Sometimes several tries are needed before the right combination is found.

If you are unable to think of solutions other than suicide, it’s not that solutions don’t exist, only that you are unable to see them. Therapists and counselors can help you to see solutions that are otherwise not apparent to you.

Suicidal crises are almost always temporary, it’s important to realize that crises are usually time-limited. Solutions are found, feelings change, unexpected positive events occur. Suicide is sometimes referred to as “a permanent solution to a temporary problem.” Don’t let suicide rob you of better times that will come your way when you allow more time to pass.

Problems are seldom as great as they appear at first glance; job loss, financial problems, loss of important people in our lives, all are stressful events that can seem catastrophic at the time they occur. Then, months or years later, they usually look smaller and more manageable. Sometimes, imagining ourselves five years later can help us to see that a problem will pass and we will survive.

Reasons for living can help sustain a person in pain. A famous psychologist once conducted a study of Nazi concentration camp survivors and fount that those who survived almost always reported strong beliefs about what was important in life. You, too, might be able to strengthen your connection with life if you consider what has sustained you through hard times in the past.  Family ties, religion, love of art or nature, and dreams for the future are just as few of the many aspects of life that provide meaning and gratification; facts that you can lose sight of due to emotional distress.

Don’t keep suicidal thoughts to yourself! Help is available, whether through a friend, family member, therapist, or member of the clergy. Find someone you trust and let them know how bad things are. This can be your first step on the road to healing.


American Association of Suicidology

5221 Wisconsin Avenue, N.W.

Washington, DC 20015

Email: [email protected]