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Suicide Rates Continue To Rise [AUDIO]

For decades, families in Jersey and across the country have been reluctant to talk about suicide, but that’s now beginning to change.

Suicide Prevention Notice
Flickr User Samantha Marx

With suicide rates among adolescents and members of the armed forces on the rise, the U.S. Surgeon General has announced a new suicide prevention campaign – with 55 million dollars in federal grants to support it.

Karen Kanefield, the Director of Education for the American Association of Suicidology, says for the first time last year “the number of suicides was higher than the number of deaths from traffic, or car accidents.”

She says, “Typically it is more men that die by suicide than women, although attempts in women tend to be higher. The very typical person that dies by suicide is a white male, probably between the ages of 18 and 45.”

Kanefield adds, “There are a variety of reasons why someone would try to kill themselves. So many times you hear people who have had a loved one who died of suicide, and they say we had no idea, he seemed so happy…But then when you dig a little deeper, you find out there were warning signs leading up to this – you have marital or relationship problems, you have legal problems, you’re having financial problems…Warning signs include: substance abuse, purposelessness- if someone is talking about, you know, they have no direction in life, if someone is anxious, or they’ve withdrawn from their family or friends, or if they’re not interested in the activities they used to be interested in, if they’re engaging in reckless behavior, such as driving too fast.”

She says if you feel you or someone in your family is possibly suicidal, “you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is 1-800- 273- talk, or 8255…But if someone is in the most dire of circumstances or critical circumstances, what we tell them is to call 911 or go to the emergency department…People have to come at suicide prevention from a variety of different angles – you can’t just come at it from one angle.”

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