According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 800,000 people commit suicide every year across the globe. That breaks down to one person every 40 seconds. This is a worldwide problem. That is why honoring World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10 and National Suicide Prevention Week from September 8-14 is so important. There is a lot happening in the Boise and Nampa, Idaho areas to raise awareness and to help prevent more deaths.
Further statistics tell us that:
- For every adult who dies by suicide, there are 20 others attempting it.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among people between the ages of 15 and 29, worldwide.
- In 2016, suicide accounted for 1.4% of all deaths.
- That fact alone made it the 18th leading cause of death that year.
- Also during that year, 79% of suicides took place in low and middle income countries.
We need to raise awareness about suicide now, more than ever before. There is so much that can be done to prevent more suicides and more senseless deaths. For those who live in the Nampa and Boise areas, there are plenty of opportunities to get involved.
World Suicide Prevention Day: September 10
World Suicide Prevention Day is co-sponsored by the WHO, and organized by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, or IASP. This day is so important, and many are passionate about it because they’ve personally experienced the void that suicide leaves behind.
The message is clear – suicide can be prevented. Steps can be taken to help people work through the various issues that led them to consider committing suicide. But the problem is that a lot of people fail to realize that help is available.
That is exactly what Tamara Reuben discovered the night a family membered committed suicide. At the time, she was incarcerated, and working as a volunteer at the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline. The family member was living on the Nez Pierce Indian Reservation, and they did not know about any available resources. Many more members of Reuben’s family had also had thoughts of suicide in the past. That is what inspired her to help people through volunteering.
In 2017, the Idaho Department of Correction began a partnership with the hotline. Reuben was one of the first inmates to volunteer. While it gives her life a sense of purpose, there is still so much more that needs to be done. Suicide prevention is a critical issue, and the State of Idaho aims to do their part in reaching as many people as possible.
National Suicide Prevention Week: September 8-14
In the United States, the primary focus is on National Suicide Prevention Week, which takes place from September 8-14. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention leads the way, and their website is filled with helpful information.
The Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. People can text or call and talk with a volunteer who is trained to help them. They also offer a number of resources that can help, such as:
- The Suicide Prevention Program – They offer training, educational materials and consultations in Idaho at no cost.
- The Idaho Saves Lives Project – They have a program called Sources of Strength, which is a program offered to middle school and high school students.
- The Speedy Foundation – This organization raises money for other advocacy groups with a shared goal of reducing Idaho’s suicide rate.
- The Idaho Suicide Prevention Coalition – They are dedicated to reducing the suicide rate in the state through education.
- NAMI Idaho – Their goal is to offer help to those with mental illnesses and improve their quality of life through support research and advocacy.
- The Live Wilder Foundation – They have a goal of a zero suicide rate among the youth in Idaho. They offer information on prevention and how to raise awareness. They are centered on treating depression.
Idaho Honors Suicide Prevention Day/Week: Events Local to Boise and Nampa
According to the ISPH, there were close to 7,000 calls made to their hotline during the first six months of 2019. Some of the people who called or texted were seeking help with mental health issues. But the vast majority of them were calling because they were suicidal.
In Idaho, people are very aware of the pain that suicide causes. In the Nampa and Boise areas, there are several events that people can attend to show support and raise awareness.
Community Suicide Prevention Conference – This important event is scheduled for September 13, and it will be held at Idaho State University in Idaho Falls. It begins at 7:30 am and it will continue until 5:00 pm. There will be several special speakers, including Karen Nielsen, who authored the book, Pathways: From Victim to Survivor and Beyond.
“Break the Silence” Walk to End Suicide – This event takes place on September 14. Registration begins at 8:30 am, and the walk starts at 10:00 am. It will be completed at 12:00 pm. The location for the walk is at the Riverstone Park, 1805 Tilford Lane, Coeur d’Alene, which is very close to both Nampa and Boise.
Strength to Thrive – This is an overnight event that’s scheduled from Saturday, September 14 at 8:00 pm to Sunday, September 15 at 8:00 am. The goal is to raise awareness about suicide. There will be a walk-a-thon, special speakers, testimonials and food. Strength to Thrive will also feature free concerts by Sons of Country, Kyler Daron and others. All of the money raised from the walk-a-thon will be donated to both local and national suicide prevention organizations.
Out of the Darkness – Portneuf Valley Walk – This fundraising event takes place on Saturday, September 14 at Cotant Park in Chubbuck, ID, close to the Boise/Nampa area. Check in and registration will begin at 9:00 am, and the walk starts at 10:15 am. It will conclude at 2:00 pm. All of the money raised at this event will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. It will be used for more research, educational opportunities and programs and more.
Out of the Darkness – Snake River Valley Walk – While this event is being held after Suicide Prevention Week, it offers people a chance to participate if they missed the Portneuf Valley Walk. The event is being held on September 28 at Freeman Park in Idaho Falls, which is near Nampa and Boise. Check in and registration begins at 8:00 am. The walk starts at 10:00 am and it will conclude at 12:30 pm. All of the money raised will go to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
How do Suicide and Addiction Coincide?
There is no denying the fact that there is a direct link between substance abuse and suicide. Most people who commit suicide suffer from a mental health condition, and many of them also use substances. Drug and alcohol addictions are known to contribute to car accident deaths, and other accidents, but the connection to suicide cannot be ignored.
In the United States, the average number of suicides per year is higher than in other countries. It appears that as the amount of people addicted to drugs and alcohol increased, the suicide rates did as well.
It is critical to understand this link; especially for those who abuse substances, or who know someone who does. The question is, why are they linked? We are here to provide answers.
Many of those who abuse substances like alcohol, opioids and other drugs also suffer from co-occurring disorders. That is the term that is used to refer to mental health conditions that are present alongside addictions. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that close to 8 million people in the United States have both. That means that the majority of people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol also have a mental illness.
Not everyone with a co-occurring disorder knows they have it. Usually, the mental illness appears first, and people choose to self-medicate their symptoms by using drugs and alcohol. When enough time has passed, and with continual abuse, an addiction often forms.
But there are those who start to use substances first, and then form addictions later on as well. Either way, drugs and alcohol become a way to cope, and once a person is addicted it is very difficult to stop using.
Dual-diagnosis treatment is recommended for anyone with a co-occurring disorder. The best drug rehab programs in Idaho offer this type of treatment because they realize its importance. People who do not receive this form of care, and only get help for their addictions are very likely to suffer through a relapse. That is because the root cause of the substance abuse problem hasn’t been addressed appropriately.
Can Addiction Lead to Depression?
There are certain types of drugs that can cause people to become depressed over time. For example, the any of the following can all lead to depression:
- Prescription opioids
- Illegal opiates/opioids
- Sedatives and sleeping pills
All of these drugs have depressant qualities, which promotes depression the longer they are being used. The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that people with mood disorders are twice as likely to also have a substance abuse problem. This is called comorbidity.
The drugs that are listed above are very powerful. The longer a person uses them, the more likely they are to start experiencing symptoms of depression. In some cases, depression becomes so severe that the individual begins having suicidal thoughts. Not everyone acts on them, but far too many do.
Can Depression Lead to Addiction?
Even though there are people who get addicted to drugs or alcohol and then become depressed, that is not always the norm. Most people experience symptoms of depression first, and then they self-medicate with substances. While they may know that help is available for them, using gives them a way to handle the problem without reaching out. There are also those who do not realize that what they are experiencing is some type of depressive disorder. As a result, they continue to live their lives without getting a professional diagnosis.
Depression can be caused by a number of different factors. Some people are genetically predisposed to get it. Others may become depressed due to environmental or situational influences in their lives. There are also some who suffer from monoamine deficiency, which some experts believe leads to depression.
People who are depressed tend to choose drugs that make them feel better. These individuals are at a high risk of abusing any of the following:
Also, even though they are depressant drugs themselves, many people with depression will choose to abuse alcohol and/or marijuana. These drugs have uplifting qualities that are very attractive, but they only make the symptoms worse.
Celebrities Who Have Committed Suicide
It is impossible to ignore the number of celebrities that have committed suicide in recent years. The loss of these individuals has been felt all over the world. Many of their deaths came as a surprise because no one really knew that they were depressed. For example:
- Robin Williams – He was almost everyone’s favorite actor because of his outspoken personality and interesting character roles. Robin committed suicide in 2014, and the news shocked the entire world. He always seemed so happy, and no one expected otherwise. His death was reportedly due to feeling depressed because of professional and personal circumstances in his life. Robin also had a history of substance abuse.
- Marilyn Monroe – She appeared to be the girl that had everything. She was famous, beautiful and wealthy. No one realized that she was battling with depression, even though she secluded herself at home during the last few months she was alive. Marilyn’s body was found by her psychiatrist on August 5, 1962. It is believed that she overdosed on several types of depression medications. The empty pill bottles were found all over the room.
- Kurt Cobain – He was known as the lead singer for the band, Nirvana. In the early 1990s, Kurt seemed to be enjoying his fame as his band became increasingly popular. But the consequences of his popularity drove him to abuse heroin, and before long, he formed an addiction to the drug. In 1994, Kurt’s drug use had gotten out of control. His body was found on April 8, and his autopsy showed that he had both Valium and heroin in his system. He died by a gunshot wound.
- Jonathan Brandis – There are many celebrities (including Kurt Cobain) who were 27 years old when they ended their lives. Jonathan was well-known for his roles in several movies, including It and The NeverEnding Story II. He committed suicide by hanging himself, and his friends found him in his home. He received medical treatment right away, but the doctors were too late.
- Dana Plato – Dana was known for her role as the older sister on the 80s sitcom, Diff’rent Strokes. She died by suicide in 1999, after taking a lethal combination of muscle relaxers and painkillers. She had a son named Tyler who also took his own life in 2010.
How to Tell if Someone is Suicidal
It is not always easy to tell if a person has been having suicidal thoughts. So many are good at hiding how they truly feel, and the world is left none the wiser. People commonly use drugs and alcohol to mask their symptoms, so it is common for others to be shocked when they hear of their death.
It is so important to know how to tell if someone is suicidal. There may be many obvious clues, but most of them might be hard to see. Some of the signs of possible suicidal thoughts include:
- Becoming withdrawn or isolated from others.
- Making a plan to end their lives.
- Losing interest in their personal appearance and hygiene.
- Feelings of boredom about life, school, work, etc.
- Becoming preoccupied with death.
- Increasing drug or alcohol substance abuse.
- Having excessive and frequent mood swings.
- Feeling like they are a burden on their families and friends.
- Experiencing a loss or crisis.
It is also important to know what some of the more subtle signs of depression are, which include:
- Problems with sleeping
- Changes in weight
- Feelings of guilt
- Worrying unnecessarily
- Feeling sad.
- Feeling angry or irritable
- A feeling of hopelessness
What Can be Done to Prevent Suicide?
Suicide can be prevented, but only when people are aware of the toll it has taken on the nation. The best way to prevent it is to look for signs in loved ones, and offer help. Also, getting involved in one of the above events taking place in the Nampa and Boise areas is key.
Far too many families have lost loved ones to suicide. The time to act is now, and it is critical for people to know that help is available to them.
Ashwood Recovery Offers Help to Prevent Suicide and Bring Healing
At Ashwood Recovery, we know that the sting of suicide never goes away. But we also know of the risk factors that commonly lead a person to make the decision to take their own life. We offer programs to help people with addictions and depression, who are considered to be at risk.
Our drug rehab is known as one of the best in the state. We also offer alcohol detox and rehab services to help people stop drinking. Our focus is on providing dual diagnosis treatment, which will address both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder.