PTSD Suicides On The Rise

January 26, 2013

I was listening to NPR yesterday afternoon and there was a conversation with the moderator and an expert on suicides.  I didn’t hear the entire conversation but what I did hear was interesting.

The guest was asked whether military ( PTSD) suicides were in greater numbers than the population in general.  I was surprised to find out that the figures were about equal.   Upon thinking about it, though, I guess I shouldn’t be since PTSD nor other factors are limited to the military.  The speaker said that there has been a recent spike in the overall number of suicides and things like, alcohol and drugs, the economy and other things could be influencing this increase.

He said that the normal weapon of choice for males is the gun and for women pills.  This, I guess, is another argument for getting rid of guns since many people choose not only to commit suicide but do it by an assist from the police.  This means they decide to kill others so that the police will kill them.

The speaker brought up an interesting fact.  Apparently in England the weapon of choice was pills of a certain kind.  People would buy this over the counter medication, then open the bottle and swallow as many of the pills that they could and then simply go to sleep and pass away.  They tried an interesting thing which drastically reduced the number of suicides reported.  I believe he said by about 60%.  Instead off selling this drug as it was originally sold, in a bottle, they now sell it bubble wrapped so that a person contemplating suicide would have to unwrap each individual tablet before ingesting them.  It sounds funny but I guess committing suicide in Britain, using this drug, now is too much trouble.

So they have started to study more closely about suicide prevention here.  They have found an interesting statistic.  Many people who start thinking about suicide and then take action, do it within five minutes of the actual thought process.  This has been labeled “Impulse suicides”  The thinking now is that if intervention can come within that 5 minutes, many people can not only be talked out of the notion but also may never be at that point again after turning away once from the suicidal abyss.

Perhaps in that 5 minutes, a post would be an effective deterrent, at least we are here for everyone.  No matter how bad things may seem, there are people that care.  Remember what Blanche DuBois said in “A Streetcar Named Desire”.  She said “I’ve always relied on the kindness of strangers”  There are many people that do care and all it takes is for one to reach out.