Suicide awareness saves lives

By Julianne Obregon

Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States and ranks second for people ages 15-34. Over 38,000 people commit suicide every year.

According to Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, depression affects 20-25 percent of Americans ages 18 and older in a given year.

Men are more likely to take their lives than women. As reported by WebMD, men take their lives at about four times the rate of women, which accounts for 79 percent of suicides in the U.S.

Depression can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors and carries a high risk of suicide especially if it goes untreated.

Students attending East Los Angeles College who need someone to speak to or know someone who needs to speak to someone about suicide can visit the Health Center at G8-111 Monday-Thursday 7 a.m.-8 p.m. or Friday 8 a.m.-2 p.m. or call 323-265-8651.

The best way to minimize the risk of suicide is by knowing the risk factors and being able to recognize the warning signs.

Medical Assistant of Mosaic Family at the ELAC Health Center Grace de la Torre believes that everyone gets hit with depression and that some people just need hope, and to know that they are not alone and that it is going to pass.

“Jesus helped me get out of my depression,” de la Torre said.

More than 90 percent of people who commit suicide have clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

People that commit suicide often have a substance abuse problem.Though suicide and suicidal behavior are unusual responses to stress, adverse or traumatic life events combined with other risk factors can lead to suicide.

Some of the risk factors that can lead to suicide include one or more suicide attempts, a family history of mental disorder or substance abuse, family violence, a family history of suicide, physical or sexual abuse and exposure to suicidal behaviors.

Between 20-50 percent of people who commit suicide have made a previous attempt, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Several warning signs that someone is considering or planning to commit suicide include always talking about death, losing interest in things they used to care about, talking about suicide, making comments about being hopeless, helpless or worthless, visiting or calling to say goodbye and unexpected mood changes such as switching from being depressed to calm or appearing to be happy.

If someone shows signs of suicide, make sure to take the person seriously. Listen to what they have to say and seek help immediately from a health care professional.

According to, people should avoid saying things like you have so much to live for. Just take the time to ask them what they are planning and never attempt to argue the person out of it.

Suicidal or depressed people should be encouraged to seek help from a mental health professional.

If someone appears to be close to committing suicide, they shouldn’t be left alone and should be accompanied to the nearest emergency room.

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