Sunday, January 13, 2008

Suicide is the Leading Cause of Violent, or Accidental Death

I find it so disturbing that in British Columbia, Canada we hear so much in the news about how car accidents destroy people and the families who love them. Every time you open the paper, or watch the news there are stories about car accidents, or drownings, deaths by fires or murders.
There is even a 60 person gang task force being set up in B.C.'s Lower Mainland to deal with the number of murders this past year in the Metro Vancouver area. I was unable to find statistics for the number of murders in Metro Vancouver in 2007, but I am certain in cannot have more than doubled since 2005. If it had doubled it would mean 62 people were murdered here in this past year.
By contrast, in 2005, 403 people committed suicide. Where is all the support and the task forces for these people? The people whose deaths go so unnoticed? I rarely hear about a person committing suicide. Imagine if, like the 60 person gang task force, we had the equivalent number of people investigating and trying to prevent suicides as were committing suicide. We have 60 detectives working on less than 60 murders a year, so why not 403 more health care workers helping people with mental illnesses, or people in difficult circumstances work towards recovery and a desire to live?
Maybe as a community we need to be more vocal about how often suicide is happening and the impact it has on those left behind. Maybe then we would get the resources we need, more pdocs, more psychiatric support, more information about how to get the help you need, when you need it and more funding to help stop all these sad and unnecessary deaths.


jcat said...

Wow. The proportions are scary, and, as you say also the comparative focus on investigation and prevention.

I've never seen figures on suicide vs other deaths here, but in 2007 between April and Sept, there were 8925 murders and 6632 culpable homicides in SA. And 9269 attempted murders. So if the same ratio applies here....

Anonymous said...

What you need to understand is that the task forces responsible for suicide prevention are researchers and drug companies.
With all the medications now on the market, you would expect a decrease in the number of suicides, instead there has been a steady increase and both drug companies and reasearchers are aware of this, yet, why is it still getting worse.
Take the chemical imbalance theory, this is still in psychiatric textbooks, but, yet, to date there has been evidence a chemical imbalance is occuring.
Has this caused the researchers to develop other drugs that aren't causing people to want to kill themselves? Of course not, where is the money in that? People in charge do not benefit stopping suicides, as much as we believe it is human nature to prevent such occurances, sadly, thats not what is happening

jcat said...

"anon"..... would it not be fair to say that there is an increase in suicides because of a)overpopulation, and b)reduced quality of life in almost all ways. Even if I look at the world I grew up in as a kid, 30 years on, there are none of the innocent pastimes and freedoms we took for granted.
The prospect of another 30 or 40years in a world that just gets uglier every day makes suicide seem like a very sensible option....

Aqua said...

Hi Anonymous and Jcat,

Thanks for the feedback Anon. You and Jcat both bring up interesting points. I believe I have a chemical imbalance given my mood switches so rapidly with no external causation. I also go through periods where I am completely "well" Though not for some time now. These periods simply happens, again suggesting no external causation. So I have to I agree with Jcat.

Populations have increased, so I would expect an increase in the "number" of suicides, but if the "percentage" increased I would begin questioning why. I am not certain if the percentages HAVE increased.

One suggestion is that antidepressant use among young people has decreased due to fears in recent years of the medications increasing suicidality. Perhaps there are more suicides because a population, already known to sometimes act impulsively,(i.e.teenagers), are not being treated enough with antidepressants for their depression.

I first read about this theory on Dr. Shock's blog at: . His site has tons of information about evidence based depression treatments and is always interesting.

James said...

I rarely hear about a person committing suicide. Imagine if, like the 60 person gang task force, we had the equivalent number of people investigating and trying to prevent suicides as were committing suicide.

SO TRUE!! No ones cares much about those of us with suicidal tendencies until we end up shooting up some university or something.

Great post.

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