Gateway Carbondale’s Executive Director Shares Concern Regarding Suicide Rates in Southern Illinois

Suicide is a Growing Concern

In the wake of recent suicides in Southern Illinois, especially Franklin and Williamson counties we realize our communities are not alone.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of suicide in the U.S. is the highest it has been in 25 years. It is among the top ten causes of death in the U.S., and the only cause within the top ten that has increased.[1]

Some researchers believe an important contributing factor to this rise is the surge in the abuse of prescription painkillers. Others point to our improved ability to manage health conditions, yet still inferior inability to manage mental health.[2]

Suicide and Substance Abuse Are Often Related

Many people are unaware of the high correlation between suicide and substance abuse. According to Psychologytoday.com, 45 percent of patients with untreated substance abuse disorders commit suicide. It is suicide and substance abuse, drug abusealso telling that 24 percent of suicide victims in the United States are legally drunk when they commit suicide.[3] At the Gateway center in Carbondale these statistics seem on target – we work with individuals whose use of drugs and alcohol have contributed to negative life factors that may become so severe as to lead to suicide.

Did you know it’s not uncommon for people to have a mental health issue that exists in tandem with their drug use? At Gateway, we see a high level of depression alongside of addictions, particularly with alcohol. Such situations can become cyclical where, as the depression or anxiety becomes increasingly severe, the person tries to manage it with more alcohol, opiates or other substances.

When treating individuals who manifest signs of having mental health and substance abuse issues (known as having co-occurring disorders), a multi-pronged, individualized approach to intervention is recommended. Otherwise, the risk of either or both disorders reoccurring is much higher.

Taking Action

The topic of suicide is not one that is generally talked about and most people don’t understand it or its connection to mental illness and substance abuse. Fortunately, progress is being made in the realm of scientific research towards potential interventions, medications and psychotherapies targeted specifically at reducing suicide.[4] Efforts such as these, combined with national awareness-raising efforts and those throughout southern Illinois, provide hope that members of our community may find the ability to address suicide in more meaningful ways.

We are saddened by the tragedy of the suicides that have occurred over the past several months, and would like to remind our community that Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Center in Carbondale is available to provide information and support. We encourage you to take advantage of our no-cost resources such as free consultations, online resources and a family guide.

If you or someone you love are experiencing feelings of depression, anxiety or other issues that may become overwhelming, know that help is available via suicide hotlines such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. If drugs or alcohol are also involved, please don’t hesitate to call Gateway’s 24-hour hotline 877-505 HOPE (4673).

Lori Dammermann
Executive Director
Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Carbondale

[1] http://www.usnews.com/news/newsgram/articles/2014/10/08/us-suicides-hit-highest-rate-in-25-years

[2] Ibid.

[3] DrugFree.org

[4] http://commonhealth.wbur.org/2015/03/suicide-insel

%d bloggers like this: