Understanding Suicide, Depression, and Mental Health
Mental illness and depression can be devastating, leading some people to consider suicide as a way to cope. According to Mental Health America, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for adults in the United States. Mental illness is a real health concern, and understanding how to mitigate risk factors for depression and suicide is critical.
What are the Risk Factors for Depression and Suicide?
Risk factors for depression and suicide can vary, but some common ones include:
- Lack of Support – people who feel disconnected from their family, friends and community are at an increased risk for depression and suicide
- Stressful Life Events– experiencing a death, financial difficulties, or the breakup of a relationship can all increase the risk of depression and suicide.
- Family History of Mental Illness– those with a family history of mental illness may be at greater risk of developing mental illnesses like depression and suicidal thoughts.
- Substance Abuse– heavy drinking or drug use can increase the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts or behavior.
- Chronic Illness– having a chronic physical illeness can increase one’s risk for depression and suicide.
What Can be Done to Mitigate Risk Factors for Depression and Suicide?
It is important to understand any potential risk factors for depression and suicide, and there are several steps that can be taken to mitigate those risks. Here are a few suggestions:
- Seek Treatment or Counseling – seeking professional help and guidance can greatly reduce the risk of depression and suicide. Therapists, counselors, or psychiatrists can help you work through difficult moments and give you the tools to manage mental illness more effectively.
- Make Lifestyle Changes – changes such as exercising more, sleeping better, eating healthy, and quitting smoking can all reduce the risk of depression and suicide.
- Build a Support Network– having supportive friends and family can help reduce the risk of depression and suicide. Individuals should seek the support and advice of people who are close to them, or look into joining a support group.
- Take Advantage of Resources – for people who are struggling with depression or thoughts of suicide, there are many resources available, such as the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-TALK).
Depression and suicide are serious health issues, and it is important to understand the risk factors and what can be done to mitigate those risks. Seeking professional help and building a support network can go a long way towards helping with depression and preventing suicide.