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Preventing Suicide

 

Suicide can be prevented. September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day, and the entire month is dedicated to suicide prevention awareness in the United States. Help prevent suicide in your community by knowing the warning signs and where to get help.

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects people of all ages.

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death for Americans overall and the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10–34.
  • Suicide rates increased more than 30 percent in half of states since 1999.
  • In 2016, nearly 45,000 lives were lost to suicide across the United States.

Deaths from suicide are only part of the problem.

  • More than 1.3 million adults self-reported a suicide attempt.
  • Almost 10 million adults self-reported serious thoughts of suicide.

Suicide is more than a mental health concern. A recent CDC study showed that a range of factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. However, suicide is preventable.

States and communities, including, public health, healthcare, schools, the media, and community organizations can do a lot to prevent suicide. Research has uncovered a wealth of information about the factors that contribute to suicide risk and prevention strategies. CDC has released a technical package, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices[6.09 MB], to help inform decisions about prevention strategies that are based on the best available evidence.

 

Everyone Can Know the Warning Signs and Get Help

Suicide has warning signs, such as expressing hopelessness, threatening to hurt oneself or talking about wanting to die, increasing alcohol and drug use, and withdrawing from friends and family.

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La clef pour prévenir le suicide, c’est le dialogue

Qu’il s’agisse d’un proche, d’un voisin ou d’un collègue de travail, face à la détresse d’une personne que l’on soupçonne suicidaire, il est normal de se sentir totalement démuni, de ne pas savoir quoi dire, quoi faire. Pourtant, être à l’écoute et mettre des mots, avec l’autre, sur sa souffrance, permet souvent d’éviter le pire. Les explications du psychiatre Jean-Louis Terra.

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Psychologies : Quels sont les signaux susceptibles de témoigner d’une détresse suicidaire ?

Jean-Louis Terra : Une personne en crise suicidaire a changé. Elle qui était vive, dynamique, devient taciturne. Son visage se ferme, elle est au bord des larmes. On la sent très vulnérable, en retrait. Elle a modifié ses habitudes, dans tous les domaines : dans sa vie conjugale, familiale et professionnelle… Elle annule des rendez-vous, ne va pas au travail. Elle ne mange plus, maigrit.
L’insomnie est un autre signal très fort. Pendant la nuit, la personne suicidaire se retrouve seule face à ses idées noires.

Est-ce que tous ces signaux sont à prendre au sérieux ?

J-L T : Dès qu’on a le moindre doute, il faut parler avec la personne. Lui demander où elle en est, ce qu’elle ressent, afin de vérifier jusqu’où elle pourrait aller. En 2010, 3,9% de la population a eu des pensées suicidaires (source : Institut National de Prévention et d’Education pour la Santé). Ramené à la population, cela fait quand même 2,5 millions de personnes que l’on n’a pas détectées.

 

À partir de quand s’alarmer ?

J-L T : Il y a trois stades dans la crise suicidaire : l’idée suicidaire (je pense le faire), l’intention (je vais le faire) et la programmation (où, quand, comment et avec quoi). La véritable urgence, c’est lorsque la personne a déterminé le quand et que celui-ci se situe dans les 48 heures. Chez cette personne, il y a alors souvent une amélioration paradoxale : elle sait que sa souffrance va enfin s’arrêter dans quelques heures ou jours.

La seule façon de savoir quand ça va avoir lieu, c’est donc de demander. Les certitudes ne peuvent venir qu’en dialoguant avec la personne. Et le plus tôt sera le mieux. Il n’y a aucun autre moyen de prévention.

Justement, que dire à une personne qui est en crise suicidaire ?

J-L T : Il est important de bien choisir ses mots. L’idée est de nommer, avec elle, les émotions qui ont atteint un seuil insoutenable pour elle. Et lui dire que l’on a compris où elle en est. Grâce à cet échange, elle va se sentir moins seule. Ce qu’elle ressentait auparavant comme inhumain devient partageable, et par là même humain, grâce au dialogue.

 

Et que faut-il faire ?

J-L T : Pour apaiser la personne, il est primordial de déterminer avec elle le dernier événement qui a aggravé sa souffrance – mettre des mots dessus permet de diminuer un peu la tension -, et de s’assurer qu’elle est prise en charge par des professionnels. Il faut accepter aussi d’être sa bouée de sauvetage, de devenir importante à ses yeux, même si l’on n’est pas la personne la plus proche d’elle. Car lorsque l’on a détecté ses émotions, on devient quasiment le reflet de la vie.

A l’inverse, que faut-il surtout ne pas dire ?

J-L T : Il vaut mieux se garder de rassurer précocement en disant : “ce n’est pas grave, il y a plus grave que toi”. C’est éviter le problème. Il ne faut pas non plus minimiser, ni généraliser. Il serait mieux aussi d’éviter le genre de commentaires : “Mais vous avez des enfants, madame”. Cela revient, par exemple, à dire à cette dame qu’elle n’est pas capable d’élever ses enfants. Il n’y a pas pire pour enfoncer quelqu’un. Il ne faudrait pas non plus en rester au “je pense”. La clef, c’est de demander.

Comment faire pour éviter la récidive ?

J-L T : L’un des meilleurs moyens pour prévenir le suicide est, selon moi, de traiter la dépression. C’est le facteur de risque (****) le plus important conduisant au suicide (près de 50% des personnes qui mettent fin à leurs jours en souffrent). Le mieux pour éviter la récidive est donc de s’assurer que la personne est bien prise en charge.

 

Les mots justes

Tu vas mal, mais qu’est-ce tu veux dire exactement ?

Qu’est-ce qui se passe ?

Qu’est-ce que tu éprouves ?

Est-ce que tu souffres par moments ?

Est-ce que tu as souffert ces dernières semaines ?

Pourquoi en arriver à mettre fin à tes jours ?

Souffres-tu au point d’en arriver à penser à mettre fin à tes jours ?

Quelles sont les pires pensées que tu as pu avoir cette nuit ?

Quels sont les pires gestes que tu aurais pu commettre ?

My Personal Experience with Suicide

By Corbin Croy

I just finished watching “13 Reasons Why” on Netflix and needless to say, my world has been ripped apart. This is one of the most earth shattering portrayals of youth and their world that I have experienced. On another level, this series treats suicide with incredible depth and realism that I have not seen in any other cinematic representation. I highly recommend that you watch “13 Reasons Why” if you are a parent or are involved with youth in any capacity.

With that said, my experience with suicide is not as one who has ever thought of it, or been “tempted” to think of it as an “easy solution” to my problems. If you have ever thought about committing suicide, my story cannot provide the reasons for not doing it; anyone suffering from depression or thoughts of suicide should first and foremost seek help from a professional, friend or parent. My experience with suicide is as a victim.

The first time my mom attempted suicide was before I was born. I had no knowledge of this for most of my life. In fact, it was not until after I lost her that I learned of her past and history of mental illness. But the first time I experienced suicide was when I was 16 and my mom attempted to kill herself through a prescription drug overdose. It was a naive attempt, but it resulted in her being committed for a few days. Over the next four years my mom would attempt suicide three more times until she finally was able to end her life by attaching a hose to the exhaust pipe of her car, parked in a field. She died facing the rising sun in an isolated meadow on Thanksgiving day.

Those four years were a very dark time for me. My relationship with my mother suffered immensely. She oscillated from one addiction to another. One week she would gamble away all her money and show up at my doorstep so I could pay the taxi for her ride home. Another week she would arrange a meeting, show up drunk and try to publicly yell out all our issues. She lost her job, her house, her marriage and her health. She would take in boyfriends who beat her.

I witnessed the downward spiral a person goes through when they are struggling with depression and cannot find peace within their soul. I know the powerlessness the bystander to this phenomenon feels. I went with my mom to AA meetings during the good months when she would try to get her life together. I went to every family function so I could maintain my relationship with my mom, and I talked with her on the phone during the midnight hours when she would call, even though I knew it was just to be belligerent and to try to fight with me. But the reality was that I was still so young myself, and I did not know what I needed to do to help my mom. The common answer is to say that there is nothing anyone could have done. We like to tell ourselves this about suicide, because we like to think that suicide is a person’s choice, and that people need to be responsible for their own choices.

And I don’t think this has changed for me. But to simply think that we can dismiss a person’s suicide because it was their choice to make seems absurdly clinical in face of the human experience that we all share. I don’t think it was anyone’s fault that my mom committed suicide, but my mom, for all intents and purposes, had all the support structures in her life that should make the likelihood of suicide non-existent. She had a therapist. She attended AA meetings. She had been in different recovery programs, and she had concerned family members that lived close to her. She had a husband who loved her. But even with this my mom was able to slip through the nets that most of us feel safe and secure in. Therefore, I think it is incumbent to ask why these support systems failed her when they are successful for us. It seems useful and proper to take a certain level of responsibility for suicide when it seems to occur in unlikely scenarios.

As a person who has lived through the darkness that falls when someone you love descends into addiction and depression, I have to be honest and admit that when my mom finally killed herself I was not sad for her passing. Not because I saw it as the achievement of some unmet goal, or because I felt relieved to not have to deal with the drama of her illness, the plain and simple truth was that, for me, my mom was dead before she had died. Her final days and months in my mind were lived on borrowed time; she was a walking corpse. After the repeated attempts to end her own life and all the human depravity that I had to involve myself in to care for my mother, I became convinced that my mom had reached a point of no return. The die was cast, as some would say. When the time came and it actually happened there was nothing left to do except clean out her apartment and pay the funeral home to cremate her body.

I don’t know if I could have done anything differently. I was still so young. Now, of course, I believe I would do more. I would fight more for her life, and for her value as a human being. I would educate myself about depression and how to engage those who suffer from it. I would never hang up the phone until my mom knew that I loved her and would do anything for her. I would visit her more. I would thank her more. The only thing I can say is that I wish I had been more mature and knowledgeable when I was younger so that I could have done more to help my mom, and at the very least gave her a little more doubt about the solution she decided.

Now it’s been close to 20 years since my mom ended her life, and I have four kids, a home and a college education. I wish my mom could be a part of this life, and I know that she wanted to see me become what I am today. One of my favorite philosophers said that the greatest philosophical question for mankind in the modern era is, “Why not commit suicide?” With the existential discovery that we create our own meaning for life, the primary starting point has to be what value this life has to begin with. The reason I pose this question is not to advocate for the validation of suicide, but rather to expose or awaken us to the fact that we have all consciously chosen to live our life, and that this implies our own personal obligation to engage and participate in the creation of life. In a world where suicide is possible, the continuation of our life requires that we take responsibility for it.

In the movie “Into the Wild,” which tells the story of a man’s search for happiness that results in his own death, another one of my favorite thinkers says, “Happiness is only real once shared.” This means that a life being lived must be lived together.

I cannot give anyone a reason not to commit suicide, but for the sake of all the victims of suicide, I implore you to not give up on anyone for any reason. Share your life: share it if it hurts, share it if it is uncomfortable and share it beyond your ability to do so. Share recklessly, and share wastefully. Be wild in how you share your life, because sharing is our primal root in making life worth living; once we analyze it we become inauthentic and our sharing becomes corrupted. Sharing life is not a surrender or an abdication of our own happiness; it is the fulfillment of happiness and the most individualistic thing you can do with your whole self, so share from your heart and from your soul. Share mindfully and intentionally without the prejudice of criticism, and in doing so you may alleviate the pain and suffering of your own life and make life livable for others who suffer as well.

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Coinbase develops in Europe.

We opened our doors to users in Europe back in 2014. Since then, we have steadily seen our user base grow and the last 6 months have been our strongest ever. The United Kingdom is our fastest growing market with Switzerland, Spain and France close behind.

So, we’re taking the next step in our transition to a truly global organisation. We have big plans for the year ahead. I’ll be providing regular updates here as we build out our European product. To kick things off, we are announcing the opening of a new office in London. This will serve as the hub for our European operations and help us better service our customers. The teams based here, will focus on delivering an experience that is native to countries we support.

Here is what you can expect in the next 12 months:

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  • Better localisation — We’ll be improving the UX, starting with the onboarding experience. Expect support for more fiat currencies and languages to follow.
  • Local payment methods — We’ll be adding alternative payment methods, making it easier to add and withdraw funds from your Coinbase account.
  • Customer support — We are making a significant investment in customer support. Expect quicker response times and support in local timezones.

This is only the start and we are all incredibly excited by the potential digital currencies have to grow in Europe. Watch this space!

Sign up for a Coinbase account here.

We also have some exciting updates for EU users of GDAX, find out more here.

Message from the blog.coinbase.com

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