National Suicide Prevention Week

National Suicide Prevention WeekCompass Urgent Care is bringing attention to Alabama’s 11th leading cause of death – suicide. It’s Suicide Prevention Week and our state was ranked above the national average in 2013. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States with one suicide occurring on average every 12.3 minutes. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15 to 24-year-olds. The elderly make up 14.5% of the population, but comprise 18% of all suicides. Approximately 1,069,325 American attempt suicide each year. It is estimated that five million living Americans have attempted to kill themselves. Every year in the United States, more than 21,300 men and women kill themselves with a gun; two-thirds more than the number who use a gun to kill another person. An estimated 4.8 million Americans are survivors of suicide of a friend, family member, or loved one.

Signs of Depression

Clinical depression affects the body and the mind, causing changes in thinking, mood, behavior and body Suicidefunctions. If you recognize the following changes in yourself or someone you know, seek help from a physician or mental health professional. Thinking: Depressed individuals often feel inadequate or overwhelmed. Even easy tasks seem impossible. Concentration is difficult and decision-making is burdensome. The world appears bleak, and pessimism colors perceptions of self-worth. Even successes are interpreted as failures. Thoughts of suicide may occur when the depression is severe.

Mood: Depressed individuals feel empty, helpless, hopeless and worthless, and they may report feeling pain and despair. Individuals may cry a great deal, often for little or no reason. Many, especially older men, become agitated and worry about everything. It is common to feel anger or even rage, as well as irritation, frustration and anxiety. Depressed moods are pervasive and persistent and do not lift even when good things happen.

Behavior: Depressed individuals often show such behaviors as restlessness, hand-wringing, pacing, the inability to meet deadlines, withdrawal from friends, staying in bed most of the day, and decreased interest in sex. Many drink alcohol excessively or take sedatives to try to make the depression go away.

Body functions: Depression is a disease that affects the entire body. Individuals report physical pains as headaches, backaches, joint pain, stomach problems, chest pain and gastrointestinal distress.

Getting Help

It is not a sign of weakness to see a doctor when you are depressed. Unfortunately, the very nature of depression drains the desire and energy to talk with family members or seek professional help. Because depressed people often believe they are failures, many feel they are not worthy of help. The most courageous thing you can do is to get help.

Both men and women get depression. There is a widespread myth that depression is a woman’s disease. It is not unmanly or wimpy to admit feeling depressed. Unfortunately, men are reluctant to seek treatment and instead become irritable, angry, drink or use drugs, and withdraw from loved ones.

It is not unusual to resist getting help, but telling someone how bad you feel is the first step to feeling better. A physician is the best person to contact; they need to know your medical history.

To be clinically depressed is to have a medical illness. Treatment is needed. Depressive disorders are diseases of the brain, just as cardiovascular diseases are diseases of the heart and circulatory system. Depressive disorders are not the result of character flaws, bad parenting divine punishment, or personal weakness. They are not anything to be ashamed of. Learning to spot the signs of depression is like learning to spot signs of cancer. It can save your life.

Learning to detect the signs of depression and then getting help are essential steps to good health. For more information about where to get help call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

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