Each year 44,965 US Citizens die by suicide. For every suicide, there are 25 more attempts. As the 10th leading cause of death in the US, a person dies by suicide every 12 minutes. The annual suicide rate is 13.26 per 100,000 individuals. Pierce county’s suicide rate is 18.5 per 100,000 people compared with the state average of 15.4 percent per 100,000. And yet with this staggering statistics, suicide and mental health are still a taboo.
When a celebrity dies by suicide or an overdose, there is a brief respite where society is allowed to discuss mental health without judgment. When it’s ok to not be ok. There is an average of 123 suicides a day; it’s always ok to not be ok.
According to the CDC, between 1999-2016 there was an increase of 30%. Even in light of this Washington State is cited as being 48th in the nation, one of the worst, for mental health care and resources. The nation’s standard is 26.1 beds per 100,000 citizens, yet South King County and Pierce County have an average of 2.8 beds per 100,000 citizens. “The fact is Pierce and South King County have the great distinction of being one of the worst areas in all of the United States for mental health beds,” said the Pierce County Ad Hoc Behavioral Health Committee.
If someone is in distress and calls for aid, or a welfare check is done, law enforcement officers have the authority to have an individual taken to the emergency room. The ultimate decision as to whether they will be involuntarily held is made by the County Designated Mental Health Professional (CDMHP). This determination is based on many things, but a large factor is if the person is a danger to themselves or others.
Multicare Auburn has 40 dedicated inpatient mental health beds. 20 for Senior and 20 for involuntarily or potential voluntarily. St. Joseph in Tacoma has 23 dedicated mental health beds for involuntarily or potential voluntarily use. These beds are nearly always full, causing patients to be left in the emergency department. A new dedicated Behavioral Health Hospital is opening in Tacoma in January 2019. At this time, Auburn City Council has committed none of the requested funding to this resource.
Know the Signs
Suicide is a 100% preventable death. Signs someone may be considering suicide include:
Giving away prized possessions
Talking about death, dying
Using phrases such as “when I’m gone…” or “I’m going to kill myself”
Getting affairs in order
Saying goodbye to loved ones
Obtaining items needed for suicide attempt
Decreased social contact
Increasing drug and alcohol usage
Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
Increased risky behaviors
Changes in eating or sleeping habits
Preoccupation with death and dying
Expressed belief that dying or disappearing is the only way to end emotional pain
Feeling helpless; trapped by emotional pain
Intense emotional pain
Feeling hopeless about a situation
Sudden changes in personality
Severe anxiety and agitation
If you or someone you know is in crisis or feeling suicidal call one of the numbers below. Someone is always available to talk. Remember: No one fights alone.
Pierce County Crisis Line – Ph: 1 (800) 576-7764
King County Crisis Line – Ph: (206) 461-3222 or 1 (800) 244-5767
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – 1-800-273-8255.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (ESP) – 1-888-628-9454
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Deaf & Hard of Hearing Options) – 1-800-799-4889
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Chat – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741 in the US
The Veterans Crisis Line – 1-800-273-8255, Press 1.
Safe Call Now – 1-206-459-3020
Safe Call Now is a 24/7 helpline staffed by first responders for first responders and their family members. They can assist with treatment options for responders who are suffering from mental health, substance abuse, and other personal issues.
Fire/EMS Helpline: 1-888-731-FIRE (3473)
The TrevorLifeline – 1-866-488-7386.
TrevorChat can be found at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/get-help-now/ (available 7 days a week from 3PM to 10PM ET).
TrevorText can be reached by texting TREVOR to 1-202-304-1200 (available M-F from 3PM to 10PM ET).
The Trevor Project is a nationwide organization that provides a 24-hour phone hotline, as well as limited-hour webchat and text options, for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth.
The Trans Lifeline – 1-877-565-8860.
The Trans Lifeline is a nonprofit organization that is created by and for the transgender community, providing crisis intervention hotlines, staffed by transgender individuals, available in the United States and Canada.
Washington Recovery Help Line – 1-866-789-1511
WA Recovery Chat: http://www.warecoveryhelpline.org/chat/
The Washington Recovery Help Line is a program of Crisis Connections. We offer an anonymous, confidential 24-hour helpline for Washington State residents. Our services include crisis intervention and referral assistance related to substance use disorder, problem gambling, and mental health challenges. Professionally-trained volunteers and staff provide emotional support and connect callers with local treatment resources or additional community services.
Reddit Suicide support: https://www.reddit.com/r/SuicideWatch/
Suicide.org list of local helplines for all 50 states: http://www.suicide.org/suicide-hotlines.html
Suicide survivor support groups: http://tinyurl.com/m47k5en
Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, died from Suicide on July 20, 2017. He was always open in both his music and interviews about his struggles with addiction and his mental health. His wife later shared that warning signs were present before he took his own life.