Sunday, Apr 20, 2014
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Depression can be lethal CDC: suicide rates exceed motor vehicle deaths


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SEBRING Sue keeps a terrible secret from her children, from her co-workers, even from a psychologist she saw once.Debby Larkins, the mother of David Reo Hulitt, 24, and Idalmy Rios Giovanni L. "Gio" Rios, 22, have organized a walk May 25 at Highlands Hammock State Park to raise awareness regarding suicide.

“I keep saying I would never do it, but it is all I think about,” said Sue, who wanted to be identified only by her first name for this story. “I think I may have some personal insight on the subject, not just how many of us feel like committing suicide, but some of the reasons we use to justify.”Participants will meet at the entrance.

In 2010, more people died from suicide than motor vehicle crashes, the Centers for Disease Control reported last week.Larkins said suicide is a topic that families often don't want to talk about, especially in public. But national statistics, she said, show that one occurs every nine seconds.

Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common,” Director Tom Frieden said. “The stories we hear of those who are impacted by suicide are very difficult. This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs.”"We want to raise the blinders," she said. The mothers hope this will help other families avoid the tragedies their families experienced.

“My 3 year-old daughter’s father committed suicide 20 days after her first birthday,” a Highlands Today reader facebooked. “He hung himself in our shed. In the 3 1/2 years we were together, he always threatened it and refused to get help. Even when I found him a counselor he refused to go. It is still hard to deal with, and the fact that her uncle did it two years later.”Rios said her son suffered from bipolar disorder and depression, but she never felt he would take his own life. "I'm sorry," she recalled. "That's when knew something wasn't right."

After a suicide, family members and friends often mull over the pre-death circumstances and events, blaming themselves and each other.Larkins said her son had trouble dealing with not being at home at the time Rios committed suicide. She said he was at Highlands Hammock State Park taking his son, Drake, fishing when that occurred. He later discovered he had missed a call on his cell phone because of bad reception in that area.

“Her father's passing was blamed on me, which hasn't helped,” the Avon Park woman said. “I'm scared that my daughter will do it too.”"I think David always struggled with that," Larkins said.

Young adult, teen and tween depressions are especially lethal. The Centers for Disease control report that suicide is the third leading cause of death, behind accidents and homicide, of people aged 15 to 24. Even more disturbing is the fact that suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for children between the ages of 10 and 14; children as young as 6 are reported to have killed themselves.

Teens commit suicide for the same reasons as adults: feelings of depression, hopelessness, anxiety, pressure, being trapped in an unmanageable life, thinking that death may be a welcome escape.About 750,000 Americans attempt suicide each year; 30,000 die, including 5,000 age 25 or under.

External factors include the divorce of parents, violence in the home, an unsuccessful school life, rejection by family, friends or peers, substance abuse, the death of acquaintance and loved ones, according to Suicide.org.Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15 to 24.

Like therapist Susan Forward, author of “Men Who Hate Women and the Women Who Love Them,” Sue considers herself an intelligent woman, but that fits the profile of many abused women.What is the number one cause for suicide? Untreated depression.

“Many men need to control their relationships completely,” Dr. Forward wrote, and when those men see their wives and girlfriends become too successful, they begin to mentally, physically, emotionally or sexually abuse.Does suicide make pain go away? Suicide compounds pain exponentially. All of the suicide survivors feel excruciating pain.

“They denigrate their partners, resent them if they have any outside interests, and become furious for trivial reasons. Women with low self-esteem are drawn to these men because they can also be charming and devoted,” Forward wrote.Where can help be found? Call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE, or visit the Free Suicide Prevention Program for Schools page at Suicide.org

“I understand somewhat what the three women in Cleveland lived through,” Sue said. “My husband held me captive in my room for almost three years. Although I did not have chains binding me, he created chains through fear and degradation.”

But the hell is still in her mind, she said. In 1999, he began hitting her. In 2002, he locked her in a bedroom, letting her out only to work. If she wanted to cook, she had a hot plate. Eventually, her children called the police. Eventually, she lost her job because of the trauma.

“I never considered suicide at the time it was happening, but now I think about it more and more each day,” Sue said, even though she’s had six years of freedom.19.3 percent of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves.

Ironically, Sue is a prisoner to her own suicide thoughts. “I just pretend at work, and no one knows it. We’re very good actors and actresses when we want to hide things.”14.5 percent of high school students made actual plans for committing suicide,

That includes hiding emotional trauma from children. Sue still doesn’t talk about her ordeal with them, even though they’re adults now.900,000 youth planned their suicides during an episode of major depression.

Sue saw a therapist one time – she can’t afford regular visits – and realized her current suicide thoughts date back to that marriage ordeal. ““Not talking is a trap too. I didn’t tell (the therapist) everything. I didn’t want to. We don’t want to do that, face to face, because people will think less of us.”276,000 youngsters between the ages 15-25 yrs try to kill themselves every year; 5000 succeed. The main causes are stress, bullying, failed relationships, abuse, rape, failures at studies.

Now, she’s afraid to call 911 or even a suicide hotline because she might be committed. “I did that to my son once.”Male teens are more likely to use handguns or hanging to end their lives and females resort to pills overdose.

Find the CDC report at www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/suicide/statistics/Sources: Suicide.org, Centers for Disease Control and the National Conference of State Legislatures.


gpinnell@highlandstoday.com

(863) 386-5828

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