Facts and Figures of Suicide
While men are quick to reach for a gun, women gravitate toward overdosing or cutting themselves. Half of all people who commit suicide see a physician within a month of their fatal act. Parents, obese men, and pregnant women are less likely to commit suicide than anyone else. Divorced men commit suicide 400 percent more than women. And if you’re a sixty-five-year-old male, or older, in poor health, divorced, or have lost a loved one, and are living in a metropolitan area, you’re part of the highest suicide group. For some, self-killing is impulsive. Studies have shown that many attempters, 25 to 40 percent, are suicidal for only a short time. For some, it is as little as an hour. They awake one day without giving a though to ending their life, and by the evening they are ready to bid it adieu. One person attempts suicide every thirty-four seconds. And one death by suicide occurs every twenty-five attempted. Those seriously suicidal have been for a long time, with the thought of how and when being a consuming rather than a momentary one. For the impulsive - who will often choose jumping or a gun as a mean to their end - studies reveal that adding obstacles to their method slow down their irrational impulse, at which point the life-ending thoughts may pass. That’s why many people lobby for barricades to be built on bridges, for guns to be locked and unloaded, and for medication normally stored in cabinets and dresser drawers to be removed. Lastly, there’s location and method, which are as specific and personal as the act itself. For the impulsive, this could mean a bridge. For the control freak, perhaps it’s his home, surrounded by the comfort of prized possessions. Others select the quiet solitude of a hotel, where their act can take place uninterrupted and unnoticed, no mess for a family or friends to clean up. For some, such as actress Peg Entwistle, who jumped off the Hollywoodland sign, the method of suicide is symbolic, adding defiant significance to their act: the use of a father’s gun, the swallowing of a mother’s pills, the killing of a lover while on vacation and the subsequent shooting of one’s self. Some leave notes and some just disappear, leaving their death more of a mystery while removing the negative stigma suicide can bring; without proof, anything is possible. Without hard evidence, nothing is written in stone. Though suicide ends a life, it ironically keeps that person’s life story alive. Regardless of method or location, planned or impulsive, the suicide’s inner tormet and utter anguish haunts our culture for decades.