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Know Suicide's Warning Signs
Date:3/23/2008

More people likely to take their lives in the spring, doctors say

SUNDAY, March 23 (HealthDay News) -- While many people view spring as a time of renewal and hope, the greatest number of suicides in the United States occur each year in April and May, notes the American College of Emergency Physicians.

It's not clear why suicide rates spike in the spring, said ACEP President Dr. Linda L. Lawrence. But "we do know that suicide is the 11th leading cause of death for all ages in the United States, with one suicide occurring every 16 minutes or about 11 suicides per 100,000 people," she said in a prepared statement.

"Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among 25- to 34-year-olds and the third leading cause of death among 15- to 24-year-olds. Men take their own lives nearly four times more often than women, with men ages 75 and older having the highest rate of suicide, although over a lifetime, women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men," Lawrence said.

For every successful suicide attempt, there are 25 failed attempts that often leave people seriously injured and in need of medical care. More than 90 percent of all suicides are linked with a mood disorder or other psychiatric illnesses, which can be treated through behavioral therapy and medication, Lawrence said.

"So we want to build greater public awareness and understanding of suicide in order to prevent these needless deaths and injuries from occurring," she said.

As part of that effort, the ACEP wants to educate people about the warning signs of suicidal behavior, which include:

  • Feeling depressed, down or excessively sad.
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness or having no purpose in life, along with a loss of interest or pleasure in doing things.
  • Preoccupation with death, dying or violence, or talking about wanting to die.
  • Seeking access to medications, weapons
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