The United States 'New Leading Cause Of Injury Mortality'
Sunday, September 23, 2012 • 5:21pm
The French novelist Amantine Lucile Dupin best known by her pseudonym, George Sands, lived during the 1800s. She once penned, “We cannot tear out a single page of our life, but we can throw the whole book in the fire.”
On September 20th, a study published in the American Journal of Public Health reports that, “Suicide has emerged as the leading cause of…injury mortality in the United States, followed by motor vehicle crashes, poisoning, falls and homicides.”
Study author, Ian Rockett, a professor of epidemiology at West Virginia University wrote, “Suicides are terribly undercounted; I think the problem is much worse than official data would lead us to believe.” That is an extremely powerful and alarming statement considering the study showed in 2010, there were 38,364 suicides compared to 33,687 fatalities as a result of car accidents.
Suicide by definition is “the act of intentionally causing one’s own death.” Simple definition but the reasoning why one would purposely end their own life by their own hand is anything but simple. There have been thousands of studies and books authored on the subject. Every religion known to man and every society and culture that has ever existed within the human race has a view or belief concerning suicide.
The study mentioned above, should not be confused with suicide in the form of self-immolation that has become a popular weapon of war in the 20th and 21st centuries. This type of suicide morphs into the form of the kamikaze in World War II and suicide bombings as a lethal weapon used by militaries and terrorist activities both foreign and domestic.
The suicides that the report in American Journal of Public Health speaks about are the ones where people of all ages and all walks of life come to a point where their desperation and pain for whatever reason has totally engulfed them and they simply see no reason to continue living. If only those who choose to take their own lives could realize the devastation they have bestowed on their own families. The unwarranted crippling blame and guilt that the survivors are forced to carry with them the rest of their lives. One would hope that they would not commit such an act if they knew the price their family and friends would have to pay.
I cannot think of any single act that causes more long term, wide-spread agony and horror than that of a suicide within a family. As a police officer, over the course of my career I unfortunately have investigated more than my share of suicides. The broken hearts and shattered spirits of family members are living nightmares that I will never forget. I wish I could.
What I have learned from my professional experiences is that when you are dealing with a person who is either depressed or struggling with negative issues in their respective lives, you have to keep an open mind and realize that there is no problem that is meaningless or inconsequential. What may seem as trivial to you could be a game breaker for them.
Talking to a friend or family member about their suicidal thoughts is extremely difficult for anybody. You can’t make a person suicidal by showing that you care. Talk to them ask them about their thoughts. Give them the opportunity to talk about what is going on in their life and in their head. Having a suicidal person talk about their feelings helps relieves some of the stress and loneliness that they are experiencing. Be a good listener and don’t interject your own personal problems when listening to theirs. This interaction will establish much needed trust and allow you to help this person get the professional help that they need.
Most suicidal people do not want to die. They just want the pain they are experiencing to stop. The impulse to end it all, no matter how strong the pull, does not last forever. There is always hope, there is always a chance.
There are literally hundreds of tips on how to identify and help suicidal individuals. The most important one is to Get professional help. Do everything in your power to get a suicidal person the help he or she needs. Call a crisis line for advice and referrals. Encourage the person to see a mental health professional and of course call your local police. They can assist you with getting your friend or family member to a mental health professional and most importantly ensuring that they are safe.
“Believe that life is worth living and
your belief will help create the fact.”
John-Paul Beebe, Sergeant/Public Affairs Officer with the Sparta Police Department, is 52 years old, has been a resident of Sparta Township for 45 years, and has served on the department for the past 24 years. He lives in Sparta with wife Brenda, 13-year-old son Dylan, and daughters Jenna, age 10, and Gracie, age 8.
Prior to being a Police Officer, Beebe served five years in the United Sates Coast Guard, as Public Affairs Specialist Petty Officer 3rd Class.
Beebe is a graduate of the Rev George A. Brown Memorial School, Pope John XXIII Regional High School Class of 79, and attended Seton Hall University.
He is a Journalism and Photo Journalism graduate of the Defense Information School, Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Beebe is the former Assistant Football, Basketball and Track Coach at Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Currently Football Coach and Board Member of Sparta Little League Football.
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