The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Cops, courts and fires

June 16, 2013

'We cannot ignore this'

Health officials on suicide and why Madison County's rate is so high

(Continued)

ANDERSON, Ind. —

They also screen to see if patients are considering suicide, an important fail safe, since loved ones don’t always recognize red flags, such as talking about being a burden to others, increased alcohol or drug intake or extreme mood swings.

The problem becomes even more serious when it involves kids, who unfortunately aren’t exempt. Young people are more difficult to read, Malone said, because adults “don’t understand them” or think the problem is hormonal.

While suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for adults in 2010, it was third for people 24 or younger, accounting for nearly 5,000 deaths in the U.S. that year. Of those, 274 were under the age of 15.

Kids and teens have stressors too, McNeany said. Many are in the school or home environments, such as “conflict with the parents, maybe their parents are getting separated or divorced,” she said.

Those things affect everyone in the household. But then again, so does suicide.

According to the CDC report, each one impacts an estimated six people, minimum. Considering the 796,672 suicides in the U.S. between 1986 and 2010, there are at least 4.78 million people — one in 65 Americans — whose friend or family member has taken his or her own life.

In an odd way, that might be reassuring. It means no one, no matter how isolated they feel, is ever truly alone, James said.

“It’s going to affect everybody, not just you,” he said. “There’s always somebody (who cares), whether you know it or not.”

Like Baylee Pulliam on Facebook and follow her @BayleeNPulliam on Twitter, or call 648-4250.

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