More than statistics and studies: it’s someone’s life | News, Sports, Jobs


Editor’s Note: This is the second installment of an interview with Jason Bombard, DO, Psychiatrist and Specialty Medical Director – Behavioral Health for Aspirus on the topic of how to support someone with suicidal thoughts or behaviors .

The Oregon Online Counseling website asks: “Why aren’t we talking more about suicide in our society? The website answers its own question with: “It’s because of the stigma around mental health.”

The website goes on to state that the stigma surrounding mental illness is one of them, adding that mental health stigmas often include attitudes towards mental illness.

If that sounds confusing, that’s because it is. The Taylor Counseling Group clarifies statements from the Oregon online counseling website by saying:

“The terms ‘mental health’ and ‘mental illness’ are sometimes confused, but their meanings differ. While mental health refers to a person’s state of mental and emotional well-being, mental illnesses are diagnosed conditions that affect thoughts and behaviors. Although anyone can have times of poor mental health, not everyone has a mental illness.

An article published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health titled Epidemiology of Suicide and Psychiatric Perspective, states:

“The majority of suicides worldwide are linked to psychiatric illnesses. Of these, depression, substance abuse and psychosis are the most relevant risk factors, but also anxiety, personality, eating and trauma disorders and organic mental disorders add significantly. significantly to unnatural causes of death compared to the general population. ”

The article provides an impressive number of statistics such as: “According to the WHO (World Health Organization), in 2015 approximately 800,000 suicides were documented worldwide and globally 78% of all completed suicides occur in low- and middle-income countries. Overall, suicides account for 1.4% of premature deaths worldwide.

But for anyone who has lost a friend or family member to suicide – for those who have survived an attempt to end their lives, for those who are contemplating suicide, the subject is not a matter of studies science, statistics, facts and figures; It is a personal, painful subject, filled with intense feelings, fears and emotions that statistics, facts and figures do not address.

For Jason Bombard, DO, Psychiatrist and Specialty Medical Director – Behavioral Health for Aspirus, statistics are important, but the issues surrounding suicide are personal and very real, immediate and human for those affected by suicide.

Very few people really want to die, he says.

“For the vast majority of people who hurt themselves this way,” says Bombard, “It’s that they are suffering so much that nothing else seems to be a possible solution. Very few people really want to die. They just don’t want to feel what they feel anymore.

An article published in The New Yorker on October 13, 2003, titled “Jumpers: The Fatal Grandeur of the Golden Gate Bridge”, supported Bombard’s statement before he said it. The article said that survivors often regret their decision in the air, if not before. Both Ken Baldwin and Kevin Hines survived the bridge jump.

In August 1985, Baldwin, who was married, made the decision to kill himself by jumping off the bridge.

“I can still see my hands coming off the railing” the article quoted him as saying. As he passed the 32-inch chord intended to keep people from jumping, Baldwin recalled: “I immediately realized that everything in my life that I thought was irreparable was totally fixable, except for just popping off.”

Hines was only 18 when he made the decision to jump. The article says he paced, sobbing on the bridge walkway for half an hour. Nobody asked him what was wrong.

A beautiful German tourist approached, handed him her camera and asked him to take her picture, which he did, he said. “I was like… nobody cares” he told me (author of the article, Tad Friend). “So I jumped.” But after crossing the rope, he recalls, “My first thought was ‘What did I just do (expletive)? I don’t want to die.

Hines’ 2003 interview, in which he proclaimed nobody cares, harkens back to Bombard’s earlier statement, in which he said suicide was preventable; “It doesn’t require special training to help a loved one in a meaningful way.”

Bombard said it’s important to ensure that the person suffering from thoughts of self-harm isn’t alone and that there is actually hope for improvement.

“Let them know there is hope; letting them know we can make it better — “I’m here for you; I will help you through this, “can be extremely helpful for a person.”

“At that point, when they make that decision, they feel like there’s nothing left, there’s nothing left to hold on to, and because of that, they see that as the only option.”

Houghton/Keweenaw Communities That Care (CTC) provides the following information:

• Dial Help is the Upper Peninsula-wide crisis center and can be reached by dialing: 906-482-HELP (906-482-4357); or text 35NEEDS (906-356-3337) or visit DialHelp.org.

• The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is 800-273-TALK (800-273-8255). If people you know are nervous about contacting a crisis line, offer to sit down with them while they do so.

•If you think someone is in IMMEDIATE danger of committing suicide, take them to a hospital or contact the police for help.

• Dial 988. 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline

The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline is a nationwide network of local crisis centers that provides free, confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States. The network is dedicated to improving emergency services and suicide prevention by empowering individuals, advancing professional best practices and building awareness.



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