Psychological Self-Help

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actually act in times of terrible stress and commit suicide, men three
or four times as often as women. Over 200,000 in the US attempt to
kill themselves each year, women three times as often as men. Men
tend to use guns; women use drugs (70% of the time prescription
drugs). Suicide occurs more among college students than among non-
students, more among divorced than married, and more among
physicians, lawyers, and dentists than other professionals. 
The risk of suicide increases from ages 15 to 25. Also, amazing
as it seems, the suicide rate in that age range has tripled in the last 30
years. We don’t know exactly why. Today, only accidents and homicide
kill more than suicide in these ages. A 1991 U.S. Center for Disease
Control survey of high school students showed that 34% of girls and
21% of boys have considered suicide. Actually, during 2001, CDC
found that 28% of high schoolers had felt sad or hopeless for a two
week period, about16% had made a "specific plan," and 8% "had tried
suicide," resulting in 2% of them requiring medical assistance! That is
For teenagers their social environment can arouse intense
emotions. If a 14-year-old girl has very few friends and/or feels
socially rejected, she is twice as likely to have suicidal thoughts. It is
also distressing to girls if their friends don’t get along. That doesn’t
seem to be nearly as true for boys; keeping the same close friends
may not be as crucial to boys. Most boys can blow off conflicts among
their friends; they are less bothered if a buddy gets mad, doesn’t like
them, or disagrees with them. Girls need to be accepted by friends and
to keep the group together (Moody & Bearman, 2004). So, girls who
are alone or in the midst of emotional distress among friends may
need help. 
A safety net is needed. Teens of both genders have twice as many
suicidal thoughts if they have known a friend or relative who has killed
him/herself. Suicidal thoughts are also much more likely if they have
homosexual feelings. Being sexually assaulted doubles the suicidal
thoughts, at least for girls. Depressed adolescents using alcohol and
drugs are 30% more likely to attempt suicide than nonusers (25% of
the suicide attempters had made multiple attempts), and the
attempters reported much more loneliness, alienation, rejection, and
punishment during childhood. It is interesting that less than 1% of
young people, who attempted suicide, called a suicide "hotline," one
third of their parents never found out they made an attempt, and
almost two thirds lived in a home where a gun or other lethal means
was still available after attempting to kill themselves (Berman, 1990).
Wow! Lots of accidents waiting to happen. How foolish can we parents
be? At least lock up the guns securely. 
The rate of suicide is also high in the elderly (Leenaars, et al,
1992). Of course, deciding how to deal with a painful, discouraging
experience is strongly influenced by whether you potentially have 50-
60 years to live or only 2-5. Our society is gradually re-thinking the
morality of suicide (“calculated departure” or "dying with dignity")
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