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Remembering Suicide Survivors

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(Nov. 16, 2012) National Survivors of Suicide Day has been set aside by Congress as a day of healing for those who have lost someone to suicide. It was created in 1999 through the efforts of Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who lost his father to suicide.

graveyardApproximately 29,000 lives per year are lost to suicide in this country. Of these, 5,000 are estimated to be individuals suffering from schizophrenia or bipolar disorder (“Suicide: One of the consequences of failing to treat individuals with severe psychiatric disorders - backgrounder,” March 2011). By some estimates, psychosis is present in approximately 1 in 5 completed suicides.

Particularly sobering:

  • Estimates of the completed suicide rate for individuals with schizophrenia range from 10-13%.
  • Estimates of the completed suicide rate for individuals with bipolar is about 15%.

Studies indicate the rate of suicide today is at least four times higher than it was in the first half of the 20th century, before deinstitutionalization began. Multiple European studies have reported that failure to adequately treat serious mental illness increases the risk of suicide.

The Treatment Advocacy Center extends its sympathy to all those who have lost loved ones to suicide. It is for them and those who may yet be spared that we continue our efforts to make treatment possible for more individuals living with untreated severe mental illness and its potentially deadly consequences.

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