The link between depression and suicide

Depression is a common condition that’s not always well-understood by many people. It’s been estimated that 17 million Americans suffer from depression during any given year, and roughly 9 percent of people report that they’re depressed at any given time.

Although depression has a negative impact on people’s daily lives, an even greater concern among mental health professionals is the clear link between depression and suicide. People who are diagnosed with major depression are about 20 times more likely to end their lives by suicide than the average population, and at least half of people who take their own lives had reported being depressed. Overall, it’s the single biggest diagnosis that’s associated with suicide.

That’s why it’s so important to ensure people who are suffering from depression get the help they need. Depression isn’t a flaw in someone’s personality. It’s a medical condition that can be treated through counseling, medication, or a combination of the two. Depression can be triggered by medical factors, such as a chemical imbalance in the body, and as a response to life events. While no two cases of depression are the same, the vast majority of people who seek treatment report that their symptoms improve.

The key is being able to recognize the symptoms of depression and see to it that people who have those symptoms seek professional treatment. There’s no shame in admitting that you’re depressed, and seeking treatment is a sign of character, rather than weakness.

If you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these symptoms, depression may be the cause:

  • difficulty with making decisions and concentrating
  • loss of interest in pleasurable activities such as sex
  • overwhelming fatigue
  • major changes in eating habits
  • odd headaches or digestive problems that don’t get better
  • constantly feeling sad, empty, or hopeless
  • difficulty sleeping or sleeping far more than normal
  • irritability and feelings of worthlessness and helplessness
  • thoughts about suicide or past attempts

Recognize those symptoms in yourself or someone you know? Then it’s time to get help. People who feel depressed can contact their doctors or mental health professionals like the team at Care to Change. Depression has to be diagnosed by a professional, and then that professional can develop a treatment plan. If you’d like to sit down with one of our professionals or talk with us about finding help for someone you know, you can contact us here.

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255) or text to 741-741, and you’ll be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor.

If you are a church leader and want to know what you can do, register for a free learning breakfast on September 17th, and if you want to learn more about suicide prevention, register for a community training facilitated by Care to Change’s Director, April Bordeau.