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#JamesDonaldsononMentalHealth – DAVID ROSMAN: Available Firearms Push Risk Of #Suicide To Higher Levels

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  • DAVID ROSMAN

Let’s talk about another statistic concerning the proliferation of #firearms in the United States — #suicide.

#JamesDonaldson notes:
 Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is oe of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space.  #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle

 

On Aug. 5, I wrote a column for my blog site concerning the massacres that have now become a “normal” part of our lives.

My focus was on the Gilroy, El Paso and Dayton shootings and noted that “thoughts and prayers” have done nothing since Columbine in 1999 to curb the violence, that Congress must act to get some of these #firearms off the streets.

Yet there is another side of the #firearms crisis we are experiencing. The availability of firearms used to commit #suicide.

There is a #mentalhealthcrisis in our nation, but it is more than the crazed #massshooter who sees death-by-cop as a natural end. It is the younger and older American who cannot see a solution for what they believe to be an overwhelming situation.

To help prevent #suicides, we need more #mentalhealthprofessionals and better training of #mentalhealthprofessionals, teachers and family members.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Harvard School of Public Health: In 2017, nearly 40,000 men, women and children died from gunshot-related causes, of which 24,000 were #suicides.

To put those numbers into perspective, 50,000 American soldiers were killed in the 10 years of the Vietnam War.

For every one successful #suicide by a younger American, there are some 25 other attempts. For older Americans, the number is closer to 1 in 4. #Suicide by firearms is successful 83% of the time.

In numerous studies, hopelessness seems to be the overpowering precursor to #suicide.

Most do not want to die, but they definitely want to end the pain they are experiencing, whether from bullying, the loss of someone or simply unrealistic expectations of life, either real or perceived.

David Hemenway, Ph.D., the director of the Harvard Injury Control Research Center and the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center, writes that “(American) kids have 10 times the gun #suicide rate as kids in France and Australia and other countries.”

He continues: “In homes with firearms, 86 percent of the #suicides used the firearms. In the homes without firearms, only 6 percent of the #suicides used a firearm. … By state or region … for every age, for both genders, where there are more guns, there are more total #suicides.”

In 2014, Missouri’s #suicide rate was 16.3 attempts per 100,000, which is higher than the national average of 12.9. #Suicide is the second leading cause of death for young adults (15-34) in our fair state. One person dies from #suicide in Missouri every eight hours.

A major part of the problem is a lack of #mentalhealthprofessionals. U.S. News and World Report reported in 2018 that “nearly 1 in 5 people has some sort of #mentalhealth condition, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.”

The article continues: “A 2016 report released by the Health Resources and Services Administration projected the supply of workers in selected behavioral #healthprofessions to be approximately 250,000 workers short of the projected demand in 2025.”

Over one-half of the counties in the U.S. are without a #psychiatrist.

What can you do if you know someone is or you believe is contemplating #suicide?

• Take some time, and research the warning signs.

• Stay with that person.

• Call the U.S. #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or the Spanish #SuicidePreventionHotline at 800-754-2432.

• Remove anything people might use to harm themselves.

• Take the person to the emergency room or local #mentalhealth hospital.

The availability of #firearms and the lack of psychiatric professionals add up to a real crisis. Passing “Red Flag” legislation is a good start, along with universal background checks on all #firearm sales.

Providing more funding to train more #mentalhealthprofessionals and to conduct reasonable research would certainly go a long way.

But Congress must act to address this crisis. We also need a firm hand in the Missouri legislature to pass legislation.

If 18 other states can do it, including Illinois and Indiana, Missouri certainly can.

David Rosman is an editor, writer and professional speaker. You can read more of David’s commentaries at ColumbiaMissourian.com and InkandVoice.com.

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