Our Failure To Treat Suicidal Thoughts

by Patrick Appel

Emily Greenhouse wants more attention paid to suicide:

In the United States, suicide rates have risen, particularly among middle-aged people: between 1999 and 2010, the number of Americans between the ages of thirty-five and sixty-four who took their own lives rose by almost thirty per cent. Among young people in the U.S., suicide is the third most common cause of death; among all Americans, suicide claims more lives than car accidents, which were previously the leading cause of injury-related death. …

Alan Berman, the executive director of the American Association of Suicidology and the president of the International Association of Suicide Prevention, has said that in the developed world ninety per cent of those who attempt suicide suffer from psychological ailments. “We have effective treatments for most of these,” Berman said last year. “But the tragedy is, people die from temporary feelings of helplessness—things we can help with.” The relentless intensity of those feelings has always been difficult to convey to those who have not experienced them: William Styron, in his powerful memoir, “Darkness Visible,” lamented the insufficiency of “depression” as a label for “the veritable howling tempest in the brain.” Styron, who checked himself into the affective-illness unit at Yale-New Haven hospital, lived to write an account of his suffering, but many others lack the wherewithal, or the capacity, to seek such help.

The Dish’s tread on suicide is here.