Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month with September 10 being World Suicide Prevention Day. It is with this purpose that the following is shared to further awareness and continue with the prevention efforts.

 “To anyone who has had suicidal thoughts this past year, I am glad you are here. Keep holding on” - unknown.

According to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States

  • Each year 44,965 Americans die by suicide

  • For every suicide, 25 attempts

  • Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.

  • On average, there are 123 suicides per day.

  • The rate of suicide is the highest in middle age.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides the following statistics specific to age, race, ethnicity and suicide methods.

Suicides by Age

In 2016, the highest suicide rate (19.72) was among adults between 45 and 54 years of age. The second highest rate (18.98) occurred in those 85 years or older. Younger groups have had consistently lower suicide rates than middle-aged and older adults. In 2016, adolescents and young adults aged 15 to 24 had a suicide rate of 13.15.

Suicide Rates by Race/Ethnicity

In 2016, the highest U.S. suicide rate (15.17) was among Whites and the second highest rate (13.37) was among American Indians and Alaska Natives (Figure 5). Much lower and roughly similar rates were found among Asians and Pacific Islanders (6.62), and Black or African Americans (6.03). White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016.

Suicide Methods

In 2016, firearms were the most common method of death by suicide, accounting for a little more than half (51.01%) of all suicide deaths. The next most common methods were suffocation (including hangings) at 25.89% and poisoning at 14.90%.

Causation

What leads an individual to ultimately make the decision to commit suicide can be summarized as being the loss of hope. The therapists’ main goal is to instill hope in our clients. We do this in various forms based on chosen theoretical frameworks. The altruistic uniting factor that we share for our clients is the simple act of being a non- judgmental presence. Present to journey along and guide clients throughout the other side of the despair that is depression.

“Despair is the price one pays for self-awareness. Look deeply into life, and you’ll always find despair”- Irving D. Yalom.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, “Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.3. MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults, or about 6.7%of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year. While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5 years old. It is more prevalent in women than in men. Persistent depressive disorder (PDD) affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year (about 3.3 million American adults). Only 61.7% of adults with MDD are receiving treatment. The average age of onset is 31 years old.”

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The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) list the following as risk factors and protective factors for suicide. They clarify that there is a “combination of individual, relationship, community, and societal factors contribute to the risk of suicide. Risk factors are those characteristics associated with suicide—they might not be direct causes”.

Risk Factors

  • Family history of suicide

  • Family history of child maltreatment

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)

  • History of mental disorders, particularly clinical depression

  • History of alcohol and substance abuse

  • Feelings of hopelessness

  • Impulsive or aggressive tendencies

  • Cultural and religious beliefs (e.g., belief that suicide is noble resolution of personal dilemma)

  • Local epidemics of suicide

  • Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people

  • Barriers to accessing mental health treatment

  • Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)

  • Physical illness

  • Easy access to lethal methods

  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts.

Protective Factors for Suicide

Protective factors buffer individuals from suicidal thoughts and behavior. To date, protective factors have not been studied as extensively or rigorously as risk factors. Identifying and understanding protective factors are, however, equally as important as researching risk factors.

Protective Factors

  • Effective clinical care for mental, physical, and substance abuse disorders

  • Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions and support for help seeking

  • Family and community support (connectedness)

  • Support from ongoing medical and mental health care relationships

  • Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution, and nonviolent ways of handling disputes

  • Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support instincts for self preservation (U.S. Public Health Service 1999)

 “Sometime even to live is an act of courage” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Resources Local to Murrieta and Surrounding Areas

If you or someone you love are having a psychiatric emergency call 911. 

24/7 Mental Health Urgent Care

24 hour/7 days/365 urgent care mental health screening and assessment services and medications.

Locations:

Riverside: 9990 County Farm Rd. Riverside, CA 92503 (951) 509-2499

Perris: 85 Ramona Expressway, Suites 1-3 Perris, CA 92571 951-349-4195 Main

HELPLINES

HELPLine - 24 Hour Crisis/Suicide Intervention
The HELPline is a free, confidential Crisis/Suicide Intervention service. Operated by highly trained volunteers, the line is open 24-hours a day, seven days a week.

Phone: (951) 686-HELP (4357)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

Phone: (800) 273-TALK (800-273-8255)

Spanish line: (888) 628-9454

TTY: (800) 799-4TTY (4889)

Veterans Crisis Line 
The Veterans Crisis Line is a Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) resource that connects Veterans in crisis or their families and friends with qualified, caring VA professionals.

Confidential support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Phone: (800)-273-8255 Press 1

The Trevor Project Lifeline
National organization providing crisis and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) Youth

866-4-U-TREVOR (866-488-7386)

EMERGENCY PSYCHIATRIC HOSPITALS AFFILIATED WITH RUHSBH

Riverside University Health System Medical Center Emergency Treatment Services (ETS) 
Provides psychiatric emergency services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for all ages, which includes evaluation, crisis intervention, and referrals for psychiatric hospitalization, as needed for adults, children, and adolescents. Consumers may be referred to the Inpatient Treatment Facility (ITF) or other private hospitals. 

9990 County Farm Road, Ste. 4

Riverside, CA 92503

Phone: (951) 358-4881

Se Habla Español

*Resource list compiled by Riverside University Mental Health System-Behavioral Health

We at Central Counseling Services Murrieta are looking forward to journey with you on your path to mental wellness. For appointments I may be contacted at 951-778-0230. We are located at 29970 Technology Drive #116 Murrieta, CA 92563.


By Susana Anaya-Baca, LCSW

Susana Anaya-Baca, LCSW joined Central Counseling Services as a therapist in 2018. She is a graduate of California State University Long Beach School of Social Work where she earned her Master in Social Work with a concentration in older adults and families (OAF). She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW#69056) and is licensed to practice psychotherapy in California since 2015. She is fluent in Spanish.

Ms. Anaya-Baca has experience working with a wide range of individuals and settings. Prior to entering private practice, she practiced as a clinical medical social worker with individuals and families facing life-limiting illness in the area of home health, palliative care and hospice. Susana is a member of the National Association of Social Workers.

Symptoms of Dementia

 

Dementia: What is it? Why hasn’t my doctor addressed it?

 

What’s confusing about dementia is that it’s not actually a disease by itself. Rather, it’s a collection of symptoms such as impairments to memory, communication and thinking.

While the likelihood of having dementia increases with age, it is not a normal part of aging. Before we had today's understanding of specific disorders, "going senile" used to be a common phrase for dementia ("senility"), which misunderstood it as a standard part of getting old. We simply assumed as we aged we would lose our memory and it was normal. Some mild cognitive impairments such as poorer short-term memory can happen as a normal part of aging (we slowly start to lose brain cells as we age beyond our 20’s). This is known as age-related cognitive decline, not dementia, because it does not cause the person or the people around them any problems.

Dementia describes two or more types of symptoms that are severe enough to affect daily activities. The leading cause of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease. Dementia can also be caused by brain damage incurred from an injury or stroke, and from other diseases like Huntington’s, Vascular Dementia, Cruetzfeld-Jacob Disease, Frontotemporal Dementia, Lewy body dementia, Mixed dementia, and Korsakoff Syndrome.

Why is Dementia not addressed by physicians?

First, if you or a loved one are concerned about memory loss, you have to say it. Clearly. Provide some examples to illustrate your concern. Then, be aware of the following:

•  Dementia symptoms can be so subtle initially that your loved one will acclimate to them, as will you.

•  Patients frequently recognize they are having symptoms, and are so scared by them that they won’t tell anyone. The stigma and fear of dementia is so great they won’t tell their doctor- or you.

• Doctors may not know they are seeing dementia. They may not know all the symptoms because you haven’t written them down, and when you arrive it’s so overwhelming that you forget some of what you wanted to say.

• Doctors may see the symptoms separately, and misdiagnose. Depression mimics many of the early stage symptoms. Patients may react badly to being told this is “all in their head.” It really is in their head, but it’s dementia. And some dementias are accompanied by depression because of the impact on the brain. Lewy Body is one of those.

• You may not get the referrals you need because you didn’t know to ask for them. You should have a neurology referral, at a minimum, to a specialist in dementia and cognitive disorders.

• Symptoms can increase and change in an hour or a day or a month. If a patient has already been sent home being told this is normal aging or depression, they are unlikely to want to return to try again and to have to list more symptoms in the hope that they will be heard and listened to. LIST EVERY SINGLE SYMPTOM. DEMENTIA AFFECTS THE BRAIN, WHICH REGULATES THE ENTIRE BODY. YOU MAY NOT KNOW YOU ARE SEEING A SYMPTOM.

• Some doctors do not want to tell your loved one they have dementia. Dementia is not treatable like other illness. There are some medications that have a chance to slow it down for a time, but decline is inevitable. Doctors, like the rest of us, don’t like facing that some things are simply hard to accept, and that they can’t fix them. They want to keep patients positive and hoping for the best so they fight the symptoms. It’s done with the best of intentions, but families need to know if they are facing difficulties, and patients need to know this is real.  

We are here to help. If you or a loved one are trying to cope with the onset of dementia and the stress it creates, we have an expert at CCS who can provide support, education, and a safe place to talk. Call us.