Therapy & Suicide: The New Facts
The findings of an eighteen-year, multinational study show that therapy reduces suicide rates. Okay, that sounds about right. I mean, that’s nothing we didn’t already know, right?
Wrong. Researchers from John Hopkins found that talk therapy reduced suicide attempts by 26%. That’s over one-fourth. That’s a pretty impressive number.
The study found that, at the five-year mark, participants in the therapy group attempted suicide 26% less than those in the non-therapy group. Take a minute to think about that. That’s real progress.
Also impressive were the ten-year statistics. Suicide rates were 229 out of 100,000 individuals from the therapy group. Again, that’s an impressive number.
The Staggering Statistics on Suicide
If depression is “the silent killer,” then suicide is the silent assassin. Consider the following statistics:
- Suicide kills approximately 800,000 people each year
- Someone dies of suicide every thirteen minutes
- Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death worldwide
- Almost 40,000 Americans die each year as a result of suicide
- For people aged fifteen to twenty-four, suicide is the second leading cause of death
All statistics are taken from SAVE.
It’s clear that suicide presents a major public health concern. In fact, I’d argue that it’s as big of a public health concern as anything else.
Look at how worked up the public recently became over Ebola. Suicide kills exponentially more people than Ebola, yet gets much less media attention. Why is that?
Barriers to Suicide Treatment
If talk therapy can lower suicide rates by 26%, the question then becomes how to provide access to those who need therapy most. In other words, how can we get someone who’s depressed into therapy?
That’s the hard part. The difficulty is only compounded when you consider that addiction is also a precursor to many suicides. So, how can we offer therapy to those who are unwilling to participate? How can we, as mental health professional, help those who so desperately need our help?
Perhaps the answer lies in integrating suicide prevention into substance abuse treatment. Perhaps the answer is increased education about suicide in schools. I don’t know. I do know something needs to be done and starting a dialogue about suicide is the beginning of affecting real change.
Are you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse or mental illness? Let us help you. Contact Lighthouse Recovery Institute today!