FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – People tend to associate suicide with certain times in the year like winter or during the holidays but that’s not always the case. Health experts said there is actually a slight increase in suicides in the spring and fall.
“There are a lot of economic and socio-economic factors that are connected to suicide. People feel like their situation is hopeless. Weather may play a small part in it, but I think overall, it’s really their life events and the crisis they may be going through,” said Lisa Freeman, the executive director for Mental Health America in Allen County.
Ted Coburn is the Fort Wayne president for the National Alliance for Mental Health and said the increase could come from what spring symbolizes.
“Spring time is kind of a new jump on the year and what you’re planning for the year and what you want to do, and spring time is really when you get going. So, if people aren’t seeing good things happening that year, that may be a cause,” said Coburn.
Both experts said the time of year doesn’t play a huge role in the decision.
“People don’t do it impulsively. They’ve been thinking about it for a while, and there’s usually some warning signs that people need to be aware of,” said Freeman.
There are many warning signs to look for, and that includes any type of behavior that seems out of the norm for the individual.
“Maybe they’re being isolated, they’re isolating themselves, they’re talking about maybe how their life isn’t purposeful, how they may not be worth anything, they may give possessions away, they may have major mood swings. They may exhibiting a wide range of behaviors that are unusual,” said Freeman.
Freeman said many people at risk for suicide are afraid to seek help because of the stigma and negative images associated with it.
“Whether it’s a personal stigma, a family stigma, or even a community-level stigma, I think there’s this general sense that it’s a weakness or you’re a coward for leaving through taking your own life, so they’re kind of ashamed. That stigma is still a huge problem. It’s still a barrier for people to access services,” said Freeman.
Suicide is the eleventh leading cause of death in the United States, and the numbers continue to grow.
“It’s a major problem in our country and around the world. More than 35,000 people a year that are dying in our country alone, which is about 86 every day, so this is a constant problem. There’s a really big problem with silencing this problem. So, I wish it was talked about more because with knowledge in the general community, I think we can help to prevent some or many of these suicides, but with little education, the high rate will continue,” said Coburn.
Experts said simply asking if a person is in trouble is one of the best ways to get help for him or her.
“It’s okay to ask somebody if they’re thinking of suicide. Asking them straight out does not push them towards suicide, it actually stops them. It creates a barrier for them. There’s a lot of stigma that goes along with suicide, personal stigma and community stigma. So, when we ask people about suicide, it really does send them more of a negative image in their mind and so they may hesitate about really going through it,” said Freeman.
The biggest thing experts want people to know is suicide is preventable, and to pay attention to any and all warning signs.
“Always be on the lookout, and take every suicide threat seriously. You just don’t know,” said Freeman.
If you or someone you know needs help, there are many resources right here in Allen County.