Why Suicide is a Public Health Epidemic
Suicide is a public health epidemic. According to the American Psychological Association, suicide accounts for approximately 2 percent of all deaths in the United States making it the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. Recent estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that from 1999 to 2016, suicides have gradually increased in almost every state. Estimates from 2016 suggested that approximately 45,000 people died by suicide in the United States with approximately 1.3 million adults attempting suicide each year, per the CDC.
Suicide affects every population regardless of age, gender, socioeconomic status, or profession. Rates for suicide increases for select populations, including men who are three times more likely to commit suicide than women, a rate that is likely partially the results of men utilizing more lethal methods for the act. While suicide is the 10th leading cause of death, it is the second leading cause of death for individuals aged 10-34. Recent estimates have also shown that US physicians have the highest suicide rate of any profession, which is twice that of the general population. Additionally, suicide accounts for the second highest reason for death in young adults aged 15-24 and is highest among men over 69.
While mental illness and substance use are leading contributing factors associated with suicide,
recent data suggested by the CDC indicated that 54% of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health diagnosis/condition. Given the stigma associated with mental illness and treatment, it is not surprising that individuals in crisis are resistant to seeking assistance. Per the CDC, the number one contributing factor of suicide by individuals not known to have a mental health condition was relationship issues, followed by an immediate crisis and substance misuse. For individuals who attempt suicide, there are numerous risk factors, including a family history of suicide, mood disorders, substance misuse, access to lethal means, physical illness (especially chronic pain), and exposure to suicidal behavior of others. While risk factors might increase a person’s risk for suicide, it has been shown that contact with medical/mental health providers, strong connections to others, and effective problem solving and coping skills can reduce the risk of suicide. Ultimately, suicide is a preventable act if given the education, support, and treatment.
Despite suicide being preventable, little attention has been given to increasing awareness, prevention, and treatment. RideShare Sellers mission is to empower drivers to be socially responsible entrepreneurs. As a socially responsible business, our aim is to extend this mission to the health and wellbeing of others. Therefore, RideShare Sellers philanthropic goal is to utilize the rideshare channels to increase awareness that suicide is preventable.