Suicide…..One in Six

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Let’s end the stigma and start the healing.

I am posting today in recognition of World Suicide Prevention Day. Most of us know the party line…..suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Yet, as is the case with most complex emotional issues, that very simple statement just scratches the surface of the issue.  According to the American Academy of Suicidology (AAS) , there is one suicide on this planet every 40 seconds. The rate in the United States is 12 per 100,000 people. Sobering numbers indeed. For as large as a problem a suicide is ( 13th leading cause of death worldwide)  there remains a huge stigma attached to it and startling misinformation.


Suicide is not something that any of us can afford to think only happens to “them”. Actually, new research indicates that as many as one in six people have had thoughts of suicide at one time or another in their life. One in six. Suicidal ideation. Let that sink in a bit. One in six. This means that suicide knows no boundaries. It is not defined by age, race, gender, religious affiliation, economic status, sexual orientation, or abilities. Studies into this leading cause of death are ongoing and, of course, more studies are needed. The AAS developed a very helpful mnemonic device for alerting all of us to the warning signs of suicide.  IS PATH WARM.


  • I….. Ideation ( suicidal thoughts)
  • S…..Substance Abuse




  • P…..Purposelessness
  • A…..Anxiety
  • T…..Trapped
  • H…..Hopelessness



  • W…..Withdrawal
  • A…..Anger
  • R…..Recklessness
  • M…..Mood Changes


Now you know the signs, what can you do to help? One of the best ways to aid a person struggling with this issue is to enhance your compassion and practice active listening. There are too many tales of isolated desperate individuals being patronized, marginalized, or just plain ignored by others. Some of this might be due to our fear…..fear of saying or doing the ‘wrong” thing, fear of the person being “contagious”. The solution to this type of fear when encountering a person needing help is to offer a referral. Don’t clam up. Don’t mumble and then run away.  Simply offer that the person might call 1-800-273- TALK. The one in six of us struggling with ideation are keenly aware when the people we are speaking with are NOT fully engaged with us…..NOT really listening…..NOT truly present. Often this is misinterpreted to mean that the person just does not care.  Sadly, this helps no one heal and potentially creates more harm. The people who make up the “one in six” are NOT evil people seeking eternal damnation, they are people just like you. Just like me.

A most prominent human development strategist and success coach of our time, Tony Robbins, has stated that we all have six human needs.  These needs are as follows:

  1. Certainty
  2. Variety
  3. Significance
  4. Love/Connection
  5. Growth
  6. Contribution

Tony Robbins TED Talk

All of us have these six needs. All of us. So here is my proposal; a way to help those who show the warning signs of suicide… them see the way they can have one of those six. Just one in six. Maybe number four…..human connection, knowing that there is someone else out there that knows you matter. Maybe number one…..helping them see that each and every day the sun rises and we have the choice to begin anew. The point is not to ignore the pain of your fellow human soul. Let’s end the stigma and start the healing.




16 thoughts on “Suicide…..One in Six

  1. Thanks for sharing awareness about suicide. I appreciate it. Life is precious. God made us and said it is GOOD, and His love for us is forever. Thank you for stopping by My Journal of Praise and liking posts. God Bless you!

  2. […] Suicide…..One in Six ( […]

  3. Melanie says:

    All of those warning signs are good, accurate, and true to the emotional regression that leads to suicidal thoughts. These aren’t always easy to see. An obvious warning sign often overlooked is personally dividing up one’s property among friends and family. When someone starts giving out favorite mementos, collectables, and financials, it’s past time to pull them aside and provide support.

  4. […] Suicide…..One in Six ( […]

  5. […] Suicide…..One in Six ( […]

  6. Thank you for posting this, as I did not know the signs of a person planning a suicide (no, I truly had never read them before) but with a child being a pre-teen, I thank you for this information and message of suicide prevention.

  7. scottleblog says:

    Thank you for this post. I have had suicidal ideation many times throughout my life, especially when I was in a bad marriage and a religious cult. Happily, I’m doing great now.

  8. Jim Amos says:

    Many thanks for posting this, for being a leader, and walking the talk of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention,


    Jim Amos, MD

  9. This seriously needs to be on billboards everywhere. Thank you for writing this!

  10. Reblogged this on LifeRevelation and commented:
    I have reblogged several times today and I hope this one does not get lost in the shuffle. The reason is because there was a time when I struggled with this issue. I walked out into a field behind my home, carrying my father’s automatic pistol. While setting there crying and shaking I decided I didn’t want to do it. I was more afraid of dying than I was tired of living. Stupid rationale,but at least it saved my life.

    If you or any one you know is struggling with suicide, please, I’m begging of you get help…if you can’t find help write me at…I don’t believe I’ve ever meant this tag line more than I do at this moment…be encouraged!

  11. I’ve known way too people in my professional and personal life who have committed suicide. Way too many. I’ve definitely had some low points in my own life – times I’ve had suicidal ideation and it’s a pretty awful place to be. I used to work on a suicide hotline at the psychiatric hospital where I was employed. It’s was so rewarding. I think your post is EXCELLENT. Hopefully it will help lots of people. You did a very good thing, here. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words. I saw a TV commercial the other night bringing attention to the fact that One In Six people in our country are hungry and do not know where their next meal is coming from….it made me think. I wonder if there is a correlation between hunger and attempted suicide. More needs to be done.

  12. WordsFallFromMyEyes says:

    End the stigma, start the healing: HEAR HEAR.

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