September 8th, 2014
Tragically, approximately one million people die from suicide each year worldwide. While the act of taking one’s life may be unthinkable to most people, suicide is among the top 10 causes of death in most countries and accounts for more lives lost each year than homicide and war combined. It is a complex phenomenon influenced by biological, psychological, socio-cultural, and environmental factors.
Brain disorders, particularly depression and alcohol/substance use disorders, are a major risk factor for suicide. Indeed, nearly two-thirds of people who commit suicide are depressed at the time of their deaths. Other important risk factors include being male, having a family history of suicide, and suffering from a chronic medical condition.
Our heightened awareness of depression and its ravages is leading to increasingly widespread recognition that brain disorders are, all too often, fatal illnesses. This recognition is a key first step in suicide prevention.
It’s very important to understand that depression and substance abuse are treatable conditions, and there is help and hope for people who are suffering. The first step is to reach out for help to a friend, family member, physician, or other health care professional. For more information about depression, see the Janssen Healthy Minds video here.