Last in a 3-part series
The effects of his suicide attempt are something that Lorain County Community College student Andrew Krause still grapples with on a consistent basis.
“It’s an everyday thing,” Krause explained. “It’s no longer month by month, week by week, day by day. You have to work at it hour by hour,” he continued. “So, even on your best day, it’s in the back of your mind.”
While many may see suicide as a micro issue, it is actually a macro issue, with far reaching repercussions.
Roughly one million suicides occur worldwide each year, according to Psychology Today. It has severe and lasting effects on those left behind. Also known as suicide survivors, the family and friends of a person who committed suicide often experience a complicated grieving process, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). Such complex emotions can include shock, extreme guilt, shame, anger or resentment, and feelings of failure, especially if the survivor witnessed the suicide firsthand. The AFSP also states that suicide survivors may develop trauma symptoms, regardless of whether they witnessed the suicide or not.
Family can play an important role when a loved one is experiencing suicide ideation, which can be described as thoughts or an unusual preoccupation with death or with dying. For Krause, he cited his mother as the only reason he did not ultimately take his own life.
“I didn’t want to put my mom through it. She obviously lost her father, she had to bury her parent in a very bad manner,” Krause said, as he explained how his mother’s father shot himself in 1986. “I didn’t want to put her through the burden of having to bury me on top of it. Really, that was the only thing keeping me here. I didn’t want to put her through that again,” Krause said.
While suicide takes a tremendous toll on families and friends, the economic toll can be just as costly.
The monetary cost of one suicide, per the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) averages about $1,795,379. For reported cases of suicide in 2013, the cost was estimated at $58.4 billion in the United States, per the SPRC. When adjusted to include unreported cases of suicide, that number jumps to $93.4 billion.
Roughly 97 percent of this cost was due to lost productivity and work efficiency, the SPRC found.The remaining three percent was found to be due to the associated cost of medical treatments. Moreover, the SPRC reported that for every $1 spent on psychotherapy and other related intervention techniques, an estimated $2.50 is saved in the cost of suicides.
Despite the overwhelming statistics, suicide is preventable and suicide ideation is treatable.
Treatment options for suicide ideation or attempts is specific to each individual case, according to the Mayo Clinic. Many cases of suicide are related to prior mental health or related illnesses. Most of the time, those illnesses need to be addressed in order to curb the thoughts of suicide. Treatment options include talk therapy, group sessions, and medication.
Despite the variety of treatment options, many people do not report feelings of suicide or other mental health issues. This is due, in large part, to the stigma associated with suicide.
“I definitely kept it to myself,” Krause said of his own experiences. “There’s the stigma that’s definitely one of the factors that prevents people from wanting to get help.”
Krause explained the difficulty in talking about such issues to a person who has no frame of reference. He said he felt brushed off in such circumstances.
“You always wrestle with the difficulties of somebody with depression talking to somebody who has no experience with it,” he said. “It’s always a situation of, ‘Well, I understand how you feel. It will get better,’” Krause continued. “It was more not having people to relate to. So, it just kind of felt like this was a one-man battle, and I kept it internalized.”
Such conversations can keep a person from seeking the very help and treatment they need.
Help, that Krause said is vital to overcoming suicide and the ideation that goes with it.
“Don’t run from it,” Krause said. “It doesn’t matter how you try to escape from it, or how fast or hard you run, it’s going to keep following you,” he said. “The best thing to do is stare it right in the eye and confront it. Sometimes you’re not big enough to beat it on your own,” Krause continued. “You need someone else’s help, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not an outcast or an oddity,” he said. “It’s not something that ends in a day, or a week, or a month. It’s gonna be a long process, but you’re going to feel a lot better at the end of the road.”
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:
All calls are confidential
LCCC Counseling Services: