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    Suicide Rates Overstated in People with Depression??

    The headline reads "Suicide Rates Overstated in People with Depression." I wonder if such a headline is meant to be comforting. The article deals only with percentages... not even one "number" for actual prevalence. Unfortunately a more truthful and enlightening headline might have been "High Suicide Deaths Still Hidden and Unknown to Almost All Americans." Few people know how high our suicide rate really is.

    We see many homicides reported in the papers every day. But few people realize that for every homicide killing described in the paper, there are two or more suicide killings they don't hear about.

    For the latest year that they are available - 1998 - the number of people murdered by another was 18,272 homicide. But the number who clearly killed themselves in a suicide attempt was 30,575 (Nat'l Center for Health Statistics).

    But these official numbers don't include the many additional "hidden suicides" that can place, whereby individuals (wishing that their families not be prohibited from collecting their life insurance) commit suicide in other ways that are officially attributed to car accidents, firearms accidental deaths, etc.. Well-meaning family physicians have been known to help spare families the stigma of suicide by attributing cause of death to an accidental or other cause. We even know that even some of those homicide deaths resulting from police shootings are actually "suicides."

    Almost every suicide brings extended suffering to the lives of so many more individuals and families who have lost a parent, child, spouse, sibling, lover, co-worker, or friend.

    We have long way to go, and a lot of education and facin'-up to do, before anyone can say or imply in any way that "Suicide Rates are Overstated", or as Dr. Bostwick inappropriately said "...the numbers show that suicide continues to be rare."

    Ed Madara,
    American Self-Help Clearinghouse

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 30 Apr 2016
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