- Become familiar with the most current statistics about suicide in the United States.
- Be able to describe some of the factors that increase risk of suicide.
- Understand the stigma surrounding suicide through the experiences of family members of loved ones who have attempted or died from suicide.
- Understand the limitations in predicting and preventing suicide.
In this podcast, we discuss the difficult topic of suicide. From the perspectives of parents and children, we explore what it’s like to go on living when a loved one takes their own life. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds globally,. It touches hundreds of thousands of lives, with each individual affected in different ways. Our guests describe the events leading up to their loved one’s suicide and what it took to move forward in their own lives after such a tragedy. They bravely describe the anger, guilt, grief, and shame that characterize just some of the emotions experienced after a loved one attempts or dies by suicide. Finally, we discuss factors that contribute to increased risk of suicide and share some strategies that may help mediate this risk.
- [1:20] Rachel on the challenges of caring for a chronically suicidal son.
- [21:26] Child psychiatrist Nancy Rappaport on the impact of a parent’s suicide.
- [34:40] Cheri Huber on surviving a suicide attempt.
- [44:20] Patricia Ellen on the aftermath of her son’s suicide.
Full Interviews Featured in this Episode
The Legacy of a Mother’s Suicide
Suicide, Depression, and Zen Meditation
The Suicide of a Child
- One of the most surprising facts from the CDC’s most recent data on suicide is that over half (54%) of people who died by suicide from 1999-2016 did NOT have a prior diagnosis of mental illness. What do you think this suggests?
- In Patricia Ellen’s story, she was told by medical providers not to discuss suicide with her son in the hospital. Do you agree with this recommendation? Why or why not?
- Patricia Ellen suggests changing the language we use about suicide to help reduce stigma and shame. Can you think of other ways to accomplish this?
- While not discussed in this podcast, suicide among medical professionals, especially physicians, medical students, and medical residents, has been increasingly recognized as a serious problem in the United States. What factors do you think might be unique to this population that lead to increased suicide risk?
Links to Additional Resources:
National Institute of Mental Health: Statistics
Data from NIMH
Centers for Disease Control: Suicide
Most recent CDC statistics about suicide in the U.S.
American Association of Suicidology
National organization for prevention and education about suicide
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
AFSP raises awareness and funds research into suicide prevention