Suicide is often considered a taboo topic. But, the facts about it are too important to keep quiet. According the the American Foundation for Suicide prevention, 3,891 Texans lost their lives to suicide in 2019.
Each life that’s cut short is one too many. But, knowing the facts about suicide is one of the first steps in breaking the stigma that surrounds it, and in helping those at risk for ending their own lives.
Mental illness is the number one risk factor for suicide. Approximately 90% of those who die by suicide experienced a mental illness condition at the time of their death. In many cases, these mental illnesses are undiagnosed or untreated. But engaging in a treatment plan greatly reduces an individual’s risk. The Well Community helps members access treatment to manage their conditions. Staff assists in locating community services and qualified mental health providers. Members are also encouraged to follow their treatment plans.
Substance use increases risk. Those who struggle with substance abuse and addiction are significantly more likely to die by suicide. Many times, this compounds the risk of those dealing with mental illnesses, as those who live with mental health conditions are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in Texas. Suicide is the 12th most common cause of death across all age groups, and the second most prevalent cause in individuals age 10 to 34. Twice as many people die from suicide as from homicide.
Men are at greater risk. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to end their own lives. In 2014, 2,508 men in Texas died by suicide—over three times more than the number of women who lost their lives to intentional self-harm.
Connections with others can prevent suicide. Strong links to friends, family members and community organizations play a big role in decreasing suicide risk. But, those who deal with serious mental illnesses often struggle to form and maintain these connections. The Well Community provides a place to belong for those who deal with mental illness, helping prevent the isolation that often goes hand-in-hand with chronic mental health difficulties.
Worshipping with others decreases risk. Regular church attendance has been shown to significantly reduce suicide risk. One study found that women who attend church at least once a week were five times less likely to take their own lives than those who don’t participate in any sort of religious services. However, those who live with serious mental illnesses often find it difficult to take part in traditional worship services. Weekly Thursday Night Life services at The Well include times of singing, prayer, Bible teaching and encouragement, providing a regular opportunity for members to practice their faith in community.
The Well Community gives those dealing with mental illnesses a place where they belong, and where they’re encouraged to take steps toward recovery. Help us continue to serve them.
This blog is a repost from 2016 with updated statistics.