By: Melanie Forti, Programs Director
Suicide is a tough topic to bring up, but when someone talks about suicide or brings up concern for a loved one, it’s essential to not ignore the signs and take immediate action and seek help. Often, victims are blamed and their families and friends are left stigmatized. As a result, people rarely communicate openly about their desire to suicide.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) agricultural workers rank on the top ten jobs with the highest occupation suicides.
CDC’s recent study reveals that people working in the farming, fishing, and forestry group had the highest rate of suicide overall (84.5 per 100,000 population). Farmworker men have a higher rate of suicide incidents over farmworker women. Unfortunately, many suicide attempts go unreported or untreated. Surveys suggest that while males are 4 times more likely than females to die by suicide, females attempt suicide 3 times as often as males.
Previous research suggests that farmers’ chronic exposure to pesticides might affect the neurological system and contribute to depressive symptoms. Other factors that might contribute to suicide among farmers include social isolation, poverty, financial problems, barriers to and unwillingness to seek mental health services (which might be limited in rural areas), and access to lethal means.
In addition, high suicide rates are also affected by work-home imbalance, stressful work environments and poor access to health care support. Others factors include socioeconomic inequality, lower education level, lower salary and exposure to dangerous chemicals that can upset the neurological system and raise the likelihood of depression, alcohol abuse or substance abuse, or a major stressful event.
People may consider suicide when they feel hopeless and can’t see any other solution to their problems.
The National Suicide Prevention Week will happen during the week of September 5-11, 2016. During this week we all can bring awareness that they are not alone and that there is help for those in need.
Some suicide warning signs include:
- Talking or threatening about wanting to hurt or kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, such as searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Displaying extreme mood swings
How can you help someone prevent suicide?
- Reach Out – Ask directly and clearly to the person if s/he is thinking about suicide.
- Listen to them – Allow the person to express its feelings. Let them do most of the talking.
- Check their safety – If you are really worried don’t leave the person alone and remove any means of suicide including weapons, medications, drugs, alcohol, even access to a car.
- Decide what to do and take action – Talk about steps you can take together to keep the person safe. Ask for a promise – Ask the person to promise to reach out and tell someone. Asking to promise makes it more likely they will tell someone.
- Get help – There are lots of services and people that can help and provide assistance, such as doctors, counsellor, psychologist, social worker, emergency services, community health centers, crisis support services like Lifeline.
For immediate help…
- Don’t leave the person alone.
- Call 911 or your local emergency number right away. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room yourself.
- Try to find out if he or she is under the influence of alcohol or drugs or may have taken an overdose.
- Tell a family member or friend right away what’s going on.
If you or anyone you know has thoughts about suicide remember that you are not alone. You are important, and your life matters. Whatever you are going through will pass, just stay strong! For help download the free application MY3. The application is available in the Apple App Store and Google Play. AFOP Health & Safety Programs recommend to seek for immediate help if you are feeling depressed or with thoughts of ending your life. We wish for everyone a healthy and a safe life.
CDC’s Fact Sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/suicide_factsheet-a.pdf