Suicide – the topic no one wants to talk about. However, the silence is actually killing us. Here are the facts:
- The suicide rate jumped 24% from 1999 to 2014, according to an April 2016 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.1
- Suicide is increasing against the backdrop of generally declining mortality, and is currently one of the leading causes of death overall and within each age group. “It is a leading cause of death and we just don’t have a handle on it,” says Matthew K. Nock, a psychology professor at Harvard and one of the country’s leading suicide researchers.2
- The nation’s suicide rate is the highest it’s been in 30 years.3
- Twenty-two (22) veterans and one service member take their lives each day.4
- “According to the CDC, each year more than 41,000 individuals take their own life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 3rd leading cause of death among people aged 10-24”, the National Alliance on Mental Illness website states.5
The problem: benign apathy
I believe that most people have “benign apathy”. In other words, “What does this have to do with my life?” We all have this benign apathy on one topic or another. This is not to say that we don’t care. It simply means that we have not chosen to invest the time and effort to develop the necessary understanding, and the personal connection, to engage in a meaningful way. I have benign apathy about Type 2 Diabetes. I’m not proud of it. I worked with a man who had it. He pricked his finger several times throughout the day. That’s all I know. Only people who have or have someone in their life with a mental illness seem to truly understand. Most people without personal experience use the negative, societal stereotypes as a reference.
There is one major difference with benign apathy towards Type 2 Diabetes and a benign apathy towards mental illness. I never question if Type 2 Diabetes is truly a medical condition.