Due to an increase in suicides from 2009 to 2010, top professionals met to discuss ways to help the four groups most at risk for committing suicide.
Who falls into one of these four most at-risk groups?
Senior citizens, especially those whose health is failing. Middle-aged men from age forty and older; youth; and members of the GLBTG (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) community.
Each of these four groups faces particular challenges and obstacles to self-esteem and success in life.
Seniors who have lived a long life, lost their spouse or other loved ones to age or disease, and watched friends and family members suffer through long or chronic illnesses, are at high risk for suicide once they too experience failing health or receive a critical diagnosis from their doctor.
Middle aged men are at higher risk for suicide than other categories of the population, since they may begin to feel they are past their prime, are not fulfilling their earning potential, or have failed at some primary life responsibility, such as successfully caring for a family. Divorce or loss of a prestigious professional career may up the risk for this group.
Youth have always been at higher risk for suicide than other categories of the population, since they sometimes suffer from high anxiety and the fear of not successfully fitting in. They also have less experience with handling frightening emotional states such as depression, and have fewer coping skills for uncomfortable feelings, such as rage.
Troubling questions about sexual difference, or being ridiculed for behaving in less socially acceptable sexual ways, makes the GLBTG community more vulnerable to the risk of suicide, as well.
What helps these groups? Human connections and the feeling of safety and inclusion they provide. Find a local activity or support group, especially a community of like-minded people. If you are at risk, get out there and talk with people who will understand what you are feeling.
Know someone who may be at risk for suicide? Take any hints seriously, and refer them to a suicide counselor at a national hotline, or talk to a local mental health professional.