If you are a veteran or you know someone who came back from active duty                    and has trouble with memories and experiences of the war – please call our                          hotline at 1-877-VET-2-VET (1-877-838-2838)

                                         1-800-SUICIDE ( 1-800-784-24330

                                          1800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)

                                      For The Deaf  1-800-799-4TTY ( 4889)










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  2. Study Shows Sharp Increase in Drug-Related Suicide Attempts

    A new study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reported that the number of visits to hospital emergency departments for drug-related suicide attempts has increased by 51% since 2005.

    Aside from the sharp overall rise, the report also showed a dramatic increase in young and middle-aged adults attempting suicide. People aged 18 to 29 increased by 58%, while people aged 45 to 64 increased by 104%. As opposed to prescription painkillers, anti-anxiety and insomnia medications were a leading factor in the report.

    Overall, according to the SAMHSA report, suicide attempts involving prescription medications and other drugs jumped by 51% among people 12 and older between 2005 and 2011. “We probably are seeing an increase in overall suicide attempts, and along with that we are also seeing an increase in drug-related suicide attempts,” said Peter Delany, director of the agency’s Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. “People have access to medications, and they are using both prescription and over-the-counter meds…It is clear that there are more drugs out there.”

    By 2011, young and middle-aged people accounted for about 60% of all drug-related suicide attempts seen in emergency rooms. The significant jump in suicide attempts by middle-aged men and women could reflect an aging population facing the harsh realities of growing old. A problem is the majority of middle-aged patients who attempt suicide are released from emergency rooms without a follow-up treatment plan.

    In a second report, SAMHSA zeroed in on suicide attempts by people ages 45 to 64. In 2011, 96% of emergency room visits for attempted suicide involved the non-medical use of prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications. Illegal drugs accounted for only 11% of the attempts.

    In stark contrast, anti-anxiety and insomnia medications (48%), pain relievers (29%), and antidepressants (22%) dominated the findings. Overall, according to SAMHSA statistics, there were 228,277 drug-related suicide attempts in 2011.

  3. Rising Suicide Rates Spur Global Push on Prevention
    By Michael Dhar Published September 10, 2013

    The stigma surrounding issues of mental health and suicidal behavior still stands as a sad barrier to treatments proven to save lives. Today (Sept. 10), a global event aims to blunt that stigma and raise awareness that suicide is preventable.

    Activities from California to Wales to Japan will mark the 11th annual World Suicide Prevention Day, co-sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organization (WHO). With suicide claiming more lives than war and homicide combined, the event will call attention to the treatable mental health issues that underlie most suicide attempts.

    “In the developed world, we know that 90 percent of people who attempt suicide have psychological issues,” said Alan Berman, president of IASP and executive director of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS). “We have effective treatments for most of these. But the tragedy is, people die from temporary feelings of hopelessness, things we can help with.”

    Among people with mental health disorders who attempt suicide, 60 percent have depression or bipolar disorder. Anxiety, psychosis, personality disorder and other mental health issues are also frequently associated with suicidal behavior. [5 Controversial Mental Health Treatments]

    A rising rate

    Suicide rates have risen in the United States over the past decade, after declining over the previous 10 years. This spring, a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a sharp increase in suicide among middle-age Americans, with the rate rising by almost 30 percent for people ages 35 to 64 between 1999 and 2010.

    Many societal factors, including the long-term economic downturn and greater access to opioid drugs such as OxyContin, may help explain the increase, CDC researchers told The New York Times.

    Meanwhile, rates of suicide among younger people have leveled off, suggesting that prevention efforts, which have traditionally targeted young adults and the elderly, have had some positive effects, said Robert Gebbia, president of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), which is coordinating the World Suicide Prevention Day events in the United States.

    Today’s events, occurring in at least 60 countries, range from public awareness activities to seminars and walks for survivors. Hundreds of thousands of organizations, including local hospitals, psychiatric units, crisis centers and hotlines, are taking part.

    The day’s core worldwide event, “Cycle Around the Globe,” invites participants to raise suicide awareness by collectively biking the 24,900-mile (40,075 kilometers) circumference of the planet.

    Many events will address this year’s theme, “Stigma: A Major Barrier to Suicide Prevention.” Stigma affects both those who contemplate suicide and their loved ones.

    People suffering from the kind of mental anguish that can lead to suicide may avoid speaking about their pain, or seeking treatment. Loved ones may be reluctant to suggest mental health care out of shame or prejudice against mental health problems. Stigma can even prevent health care providers from giving people the help they need, the IASP has written.

    “There’s a misconception that [having a mental health disorder] is the person’s own fault, that they should just pull themselves together,” Gebbia said. Even those suffering from mental health issues often blame themselves, thinking they “should just get over it,” he told LiveScience.

    In reality, mental health disorders require the same sort of expert care as any other disease, he said. “This is not just something people made up. These are real illnesses.”

    A moment that passes

    One of the most widespread and damaging misconceptions about suicide is that suicidal individuals are beyond help, Berman said.

    “The general assumption in the public is that these are people who want to die, so why bother trying to prevent it?” Berman said. “But these are not people who want to die. They are just blinded by hopelessness. Ninety percent of people who do get help never go on to die from suicide. The moment passes.”

    To make sure loved ones get the help they need, people should be aware of the signs that can predict suicidal behavior. The IASP lists the major warning signs in the acronym “IS PATH WARM,” in which the “I” stands for suicidal Ideation or making threats, talking about or writing about suicide. PATH refers to the feelings of Purposelessness, Anxiety, being Trapped and Hopelessness. WARM lists the behaviors of Withdrawal, Anger, Recklessness and Mood Change.

    “This is a worldwide problem,” Gebbia said. “No one’s immune from these underlying causes.” And World Suicide Prevention Day can bring this often-ignored issue to worldwide attention. “This is an opportunity to talk about these things,” he said.

  4. Suicides among middle-aged Americans jumps by 28%
    Suicide rates are rising dramatically among middle-aged Americans, according to US government statistics, which showed a 28 percent spike from a decade ago in the number of people taking their own lives.

    Suicides Jump 28%

    03 May 2013

    The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the figures show more people taking their own lives than dying in car accidents, and attribute the increase to the sharp rise in suicides among adults aged aged 35 to 64.

    The number of Americans in that age range who took their own lives grew from 13.7 per 100,000 people in 1999, to 17.6 per 100,000 in 2010 – an alarming 28 percent increase, the agency said.The rise was most dramatic among those in their 50s – the tail-end of the so-called “Baby Boomer” generation born after World War II – who saw a nearly 50 percent jump in suicides.
    “Suicide is a tragedy that is far too common,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden.

    “This report highlights the need to expand our knowledge of risk factors so we can build on prevention programs.”

    In 2010, an average of nearly 18 out of every 100,000 people aged 35-64 died from suicide – four more than a decade earlier, the CDC said.
    In 2010, motor vehicle accidents killed 33,687 people, while 38,364 died from suicide that year, according to the CDC, the government agency tasked with providing research and recommendations on US health and safety.

    Among non-Hispanic whites and Native Americans, annual suicide rates leaped 40 percent and 65 percent, respectively.
    Nearly three times as many men as women in this age group killed themselves: around 27 men compared to eight women per 100,000 in 2010.
    And the CDC found that, while most suicides were committed with guns, the number of people dying from suffocation and hanging rose the fastest – by more than 80 percent – over the last decade.

    Previous research and prevention efforts have focused on the young and the elderly, but the CDC said these programs should now be expanded to the middle-aged in light of the statistics.

    “It is important for suicide prevention strategies to address the types of stressors that middle-aged Americans might be facing and that can contribute to suicide risk,” said Linda Degutis, director of the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

    Experts are not certain why suicide rates are increasing so markedly among middle-aged adults, but suggested that causes could include the economic crisis of recent years. Suicides have historically spiked in times of financial hardship. The authors also noted that the increase in suicides among baby boomers in their 50s may be a quirk of their generation, as they also showed unusually high rates of suicide in their teenage years.

    The research suggested that there is a need to focus suicide research and prevention efforts – traditionally geared toward youth and
    the elderly – to those in mid-life.The CDC said that some of these suicide prevention strategies include improving social supports and increasing access to mental health and counseling services.

    The agency said efforts could be stepped up to bolster programs for those with financial challenges, job loss, intimate partner problems or dealing with stress related to the care giving of children or aging parents, or who suffer from substance abuse or chronic health problems.

  5. Gun-related suicides are getting attention again after singer Mindy McCready’s death.

    Singer Mindy McCready

    Liz Szabo, USA TODAY February 18, 2013

    Country singer Mindy McCready, whose troubled personal life often overshadowed her music, made several suicide attempts using pills in the past decade. She died this time when she used a gun.

    The role of guns in suicide is receiving renewed attention in the national debate over firearms violence after the shootings in Newtown, Conn. About 19,000 of the more than 31,000 gun-related deaths in the USA each year are due to suicide — far outnumbering gun-related homicides.

    While guns are involved in just 5.6% of suicide attempts, they account for 55% of suicide fatalities. That’s because 85% of suicide attempts involving guns result in death, making firearms the leading method of suicide in the USA, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In comparison, taking pills results in death in 2% of cases.

    “It’s access to weaponry that turns desperate people into suicides,” says psychiatrist Kenneth Duckworth, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, interviewed before McCready’s death.

    McCready, 37, died in her Arkansas home Sunday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound. McCready, who had attempted suicide in 2006 and 2008, went into rehab last month after her boyfriend, record producer David Wilson, shot himself.

    People are at higher risk of suicide if one of their loved ones has committed suicide.

    McCready had a number of run-ins with the law in the past decade, including arrests for buying painkillers with a fake prescription, among other offenses.

    Though the loved ones of those who commit suicide often wonder why someone might want to die, mental health professionals trying to prevent suicide say it’s more important to examine how the person tried to do it.

    Doctors at the Harvard School of Public Health have launched a program called “Means Matter” ( to educate people about the role of guns in suicide.

    Though women are much more likely to attempt suicide, men die more often from suicide, largely because they use guns, Duckworth says.

    The National Rifle Association has said guns don’t play a major role in suicide, arguing that suicidal people will always find a way to kill themselves.

    The facts don’t bear that out, says Catherine Barber, who directs the Means Matter Campaign at the Harvard School of Public Health’s Injury Control Research Center.

    Many people who attempt suicide do so with little planning, during a short-term crisis, Barber says. Though long-term depression and substance abuse can play a role, the “acute period” of high suicide risk often lasts only minutes or hours.

    A 2005 study found that, among people who had survived a suicide attempt, one in four deliberated for less than five minutes. Nine in 10 people who survive a suicide attempt don’t later die of suicide, according to the Harvard center.

    “Someone who wants to hang himself can change his mind,” says Liza Gold, a forensic psychiatrist at the Georgetown University School of Medicine in Washington. “With a gun, it only takes an instant, and you can’t take it back.”

    Many studies show that reducing access to lethal methods dramatically lowers the rate of suicide, Barber says.

    For example, suicide rates fell in the United Kingdom after that country eliminated carbon monoxide from home cooking gas, which had been the most common form of suicide in the 1950s. A 2002 study estimates that, over a 10-year period, that change saved up to 7,000 lives.

    Suicide rates in the U.K. also fell after the country took action to make it harder to deliberately overdose on a common painkiller, says Paul Appelbaum, a professor of psychiatry, medicine and law at the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons in New York. Manufacturers limited the number of pills per package and began packing pills in blister packs, rather than loose in bottles.

    The risk of suicide is three times higher in households with guns compared with those without guns, according to a 1993 study published in The New England Journal of Medicine.

    Suicide rates are higher in rural areas, not because people who live in the country are more depressed, but because they’re more likely to own guns, Barber says.

    Families of people who are depressed, or who have a history of suicidal thinking, can help protect their loved ones by encouraging people to get guns out of the home, Gold says. Gold says she frequently asks her depressed patients if they have guns, and if so, how many.

    “Absolutely, you need to talk to people about guns,” Gold says. “I try to get the family on board. I say, ‘Can you take the guns to another location, or put them in a gun safe? Can you lock up the guns and keep the key?'”

    Tom Morton, a reporter at the Casper Star-Tribune in Wyoming, wrote a column in 2011 about his decision to voluntarily get rid of a rifle inherited from his father.

    “I’ve had a long-running battle with depression that has included a suicide attempt with pills and alcohol,” Morton wrote. “If I had a gun, I wouldn’t be here.”

    — Firearms are the most lethal and most common method of suicide in the U.S.

    — More people who die by suicide use a gun than all other methods combined.

    — Suicide attempts with a firearm are almost always fatal, while those with other methods are less likely to kill.

    — Nine of 10 people who survive a suicide attempt do not go on to die by suicide later.

    Source: Harvard School of Public Health

  6. As a survivor of a teen suicide attempt this issue is very close and dear to my heart. I thank God that I was never exposed to NA or AA when I was a young person. They would have tipped me right over the slippery slope!

    I went into the helping field mainly because I wanted to be educated and empowered to help people in crisis as I was a youngster struggling with childhood molestation and rape.

    Many people struggle with these issues. That such people should end up in AA or NA having a “powerlessness” and self-blame doctrine forced upon their delicate psyches is just a raw sin and a dead-ass shame!

    No teen ager or any vulnerable person ought be subject to the abuse running rampant in AA & NA….

    We do not even need new laws; we just need current laws to be enforced.

    I just completed the article entitled:

    Does AA & NA Bullying Contribute to Violence and Suicides While Breaking National Laws Against Vulnerable Adult Abuse?
    Here’s an excerpt:

    Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are seen as the best places to turn to when one needs help with an alcohol or drug problem; but are they really?

    Many are questioning, whether these organizations deserve the positive images they have enjoyed for decades. Currently there are claims of abuse and adult bullying, law suits, sexual assault and harassment, financial exploitation and even murder cases attributed to participation in these twelve step-based programs.

    Few people realize that AA & NA members and sponsors have been accused of having driven many AA and NA newcomers, vulnerable adults and teens to attempt or succeed in committing suicide. While most people who turn to AA & NA have serious problems prior to going to these programs, AA & NA often result in making people’s issues far worse than they were initially.

    The positive image most Americans have of AA and NA is unearned and misleading. This deceptive image warrants closer observation because society has come to depend so heavily upon these programs. Millions of American adults and teens are referred to these programs that consistently fail to actually help the majority of the people who go to them.

    By implementing a cookie-cutter type approach, which sends everyone without distinction to AA & NA who has from the slightest ranging to the most severe problems with alcohol and/or drugs, our system, is guilty of being grossly irresponsible and in far too many situations, dangerous.
    Unknown threats to physical, emotional, mental and financial safety lie in wait for vulnerable adults and minors who enter twelve step based programs. This is due to the alarming fact that …

    • Great points and article illbefree! You are right AA in my opinion does not deserve the positive image that they have. They hide the truth at headquarters as well as individual groups and members try their best to hide the truth about AA & NA. They have the saying “what is said here stays here”. Of course they are very selective in doing that! AA & NA are nototious for being a huge gossip and drama mill. Backstabbing galore ( sometimes literally) and lots of judging.

      I like your point about bullying. That is exaxtly what happened to us in Holly Hill Florida when massive amounts of AA and NA members decend on our parks and use bullying tactics to use pavillions without payment. They chase citizens away and have even threaten lives and bodily harm.Yep- they sure can be bullies. They think they are special- so laws and common decency does not appy to them.

      They also do this to their own members by degrading them and stripping them down to their core emotionally by doing confessions, including sexual inventories. They do sexual inventories with teens as well! They have no shame.

      I am glad to hear you made it through that terrible time when you were suicidal as a teenager! Then being sexually molested as well.AA is not the place for suicidal or sex abuse victims. In part because they have no training, and second they are known to sexually abuse thre own members and drive them to suicide by telling people to go off their meds. Humiliating people does not help either.

      I look forward to reading the rest of your article. Thanks for your work on this.

  7. U.S. launches new National Strategy for Suicide Prevention September 2012

    CBS/AP) U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin unveiled the country’s new National Strategy for Suicide Prevention on Monday. The new guidelines from the Obama administration focus on preventing suicides, especially among military veterans, by methods such as beefing up the nation’s crisis hotline to help.
    Pictures: Suicide: 9 deadliest myths

    U.S. health officials said nearly 100 people every day commit suicide, and many more attempt it. It is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. with rates doubling those of lives taken by homicide. The military in particular has seen an alarming increase in suicides this year.

    The federal government announced Monday it will boost staff by 50 percent at the national hotline – 1-800-273-TALK – which is open to military and civilians alike. It provided $55.6 million for state and local programs, and highlighted Facebook features that link distressed users to counselors.

    According to the report, suicide can affect anyone but certain populations are at increased risk including individuals with mental and substance abuse disorders, individuals in justice and child welfare settings, LGBT individuals, American Indians and Alaska Natives, men in midlife and older men, and members and veterans of the Armed Forces.

    The federal government’s new campaign will kick off with public service announcements urging people to seek help if they spot signs that someone is suicidal. Signs of suicidal behavior include talking about wanting to die and feeling trapped or hopeless, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious or reckless, sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing oneself, showing rage or speaking of seeking revenge and displaying extreme mood swings.

    Suicide: 9 deadliest myths
    The government urges people who notice these signs to not leave the person alone if possible and to ask them if they are thinking about killing themselves – it won’t put the idea in their heads. In these cases, it might be best to try to get the person to call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, take him or her to an emergency room or seek help from a professional.

    “Preventing suicide is everyone’s business,” Benjamin said.

    A full copy of the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention can be found on the Surgeon General’s website.

  8. Most people are not aware of these firearm stats…..

    Firearms and Suicide

    Although most gun owners reportedly keep a firearm in their home for “protection” or “self defense,” 83 percent of gun-related deaths in these homes are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.

    Firearms are used in more suicides than homicides.
    Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.
    Firearms account for 50 percent of all suicides.

  9. Military suicides outnumber combat deaths

    Military suicides creating an unsettling record


    The American military has reached the breaking point. This year, for the first time in American history, suicide is causing more deaths in the military than combat.

    For the last ten years, we have sent our young men and women off to fight a war we for the most part don’t fully understand. The war on terror came to our shores with a vengeance on September 11th those many years ago, and today, we are seeing an unwanted affect of that war.

    The number of suicides in the military, for both active-duty and those recently discharged has been rising at an alarming rate since 2005. Based on a story in TIME today, the military has released figures showing that for the month of July, 2012, a total of 38 suspected suicides was recorded, 26 of them being active-duty personnel.

    This number is over one-a-day, and the figures are far reaching in their significance. The July total is 58% higher than the June total of 24 deaths, and 50% higher than the average monthly count for the past 18 months. Many of us might wonder how long records have been kept on these numbers. Sadly, it’s not as long as it should be.
    Full Article-

  10. Holly Hill mom: Daughter’s suicide motive to save others


    August 23, 2012 4:30 PM
    Posted in: Volusia County- Suicide

    Debbie Colson holds a portrait of her late 16-year-old daughter Jessica Beacon, who committed suicide July 8. (N-J | David Tucker)

    HOLLY HILL — Only images remain of Debbie Colson’s teenage daughter.

    There’s a favorite photograph of Jessica Beacon flashing a cover-girl smile with her head tilted to the side, long blonde hair cascading over a shoulder.

    But underneath that happy exterior, 16-year-old Jessica was deeply troubled, depressed over the direction her young life was taking. On July 8, she ended that life.

    “In hindsight, there were signs,” Colson acknowledged. “But when you deal with teens, it’s difficult to see the signs, to know when they’re about to cross that line.” Any warnings were masked by an outgoing personality. Even though they were close, Jessica didn’t confide in her mother, or her closest friends.

    “She was always smiling. Her smile could light the world,” recalled Colson, 44, of the girl nicknamed Bacon. “But inside, she was isolated emotionally. She didn’t tell me anything.” Jessica’s 17th birthday would have been Sunday, and her mother has planned a beachfront remembrance next to the Daytona Beach Pier at 8:30 p.m. Saturday for friends and strangers who were touched by her daughter’s life and death. “Bacon’s Birthday Bash” will be both celebratory and somber.

    Brief, informal talks are planned by a mental health counselor, a pastor and a drug abuse counselor in the hope of reaching other teens who might be struggling with depression or even thoughts of suicide.

    “A lot of teens out there are depressed. I can hear things (Jessica) said in other kids that are triggers to me,” Colson said. “Teens are gravitating to me. It helps me grieve by helping others. God is holding me up.” Jessica’s birthday remembrance, which is expected to draw between 100 to 200 people, will conclude with the city’s weekly fireworks display later in the night, something her daughter enjoyed watching.

    “”She touched a lot of lives in a short amount of time,” Colson said. “I was going to do a get-together for her friends in her name. But it’s turned into something for all those teens out there, for awareness. A lot of people are impacted by the problem.”

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says suicide is the third leading cause of death for people aged 15 to 24, behind accidents and homicide. And it’s fourth for children 10 to 14. Many factors can trigger a sense of hopelessness, anxiety or alienation. They can include: a divorce, violence at home, trouble at school, rejection by peers, substance abuse or the death of a loved one. Michael Ladwig is a mental health counselor who has practiced in Volusia County since the 1970s. He is one of the scheduled speakers at Saturday night’s gathering. Jessica wasn’t a client. Neither is her mother.

    “I’ll talk about how she was behaving before her suicide, what the causes of depression are and what it is,” Ladwig said. He said teenagers sometimes are sworn to secrecy before being told by a friend that suicide is being contemplated.

    Read complete article –

  11. June 7th 2012 WASHINGTON (AP) Suicides are surging among America’s troops, averaging nearly one a day this year the fastest pace in the nation’s decade of war.
    The 154 suicides for active-duty troops in the first 155 days of the year far outdistance the U.S. forces killed in action in Afghanistan about 50 percent more according to Pentagon statistics obtained by The Associated Press.

    The numbers reflect a military burdened with wartime demands from Iraq and Afghanistan that have taken a greater toll than foreseen a decade ago. The military also is struggling with increased sexual assaults, alcohol abuse, domestic violence and other misbehavior. Because suicides had leveled off in 2010 and 2011, this year’s upswing has caught some officials by surprise.

    The reasons for the increase are not fully understood. Among explanations, studies have pointed to combat exposure, post-traumatic stress, misuse of prescription medications and personal financial problems. Army data suggest soldiers with multiple combat tours are at greater risk of committing suicide, although a substantial proportion of Army suicides are committed by soldiers who never deployed.

    The unpopular war in Afghanistan is winding down with the last combat troops scheduled to leave at the end of 2014. But this year has seen record numbers of soldiers being killed by Afghan troops, and there also have been several scandals involving U.S. troop misconduct.

    The 2012 active-duty suicide total of 154 through June 3 compares to 130 in the same period last year, an 18 percent increase. And it’s more than the 136.2 suicides that the Pentagon had projected for this period based on the trend from 2001-2011. This year’s January-May total is up 25 percent from two years ago, and it is 16 percent ahead of the pace for 2009, which ended with the highest yearly total thus far.

    Full article-

  12. Here is a comment Ryan explained some of his feelings on the topic in his life.

    Ryan took his life June 1st 2012.Ryan on March 18, 2012 at 3:27 PM said:

    No. Wish I did. There has been some family tension with me writing or saying anything against AA. I have 3 family members expressly still in and sponsoring (though 2 don’t even meet diagnostic criteria for having drank ‘alcoholicly.’) This is a very frustrating Organization. I used to be nice to one as I was glad she was making friends and getting involved, until I learned about emotional and psychological abuse and the cult mind control tactics of AA, I refuse to speak with her. Above all, there is a strong desire of my parents for ‘us’ to ‘move on,’ after Sara’s death, which, perhaps, is healthy for the time being but, for me, on principle, I will never pretend that I don’t know why it happened. Would prefer not to get too personal, but my sister wrote a note in which she overtly expressed her beliefs that she was ‘genetically’ and ‘spiritually’ defective. I wonder where she got those ideas from? I’ve also turned into quite an ‘asshole,’ for lack of a better term when considering AA or blog posts amongst members. I have no patience. I don’t care how ‘nice’ they may sound, the fact is that the believe they have fictitious diseases and work to inculcate others with their flawed beliefs and cult program. It is sad. I didn’t post here but I wrote my brother with several tragic stories of ‘clients’ of the ‘treatment’ I underwent and even he couldn’t bring himself to blame the modality.

    It also got to the point where I didn’t really want to think about it much more, much less have something on the internet tied to me. I tried recreating it on wordpress with a much simpler format where people could just post people in AA who they new who killed themselves or overdosed, but I just checked it today and it dissappeared! Quite frustrating

  13. This was written on Ryan’s Blog who had a sister who comitted suicide last year after being in AA. Ryan was not a fan of AA, and he struggled with the death of his sister understandably. Ryan comitted suicide on June 1st 2012. He was only 25 years old. May you rest in peace Ryan, you will be missed so much. Thanks for bringing awareness to the connection between AA and suicides. R.I.P.

    Stepping On Suicide
    March 16, 2012

    Hi. First I started this blog as a tribute to a family member who took her own life, following several years in AA, but was at a loss of what to discuss in particular. I knew of other AA members who suffered the same fate and thought having a blog would be a good idea. However, I shortly found out, in a frustrating effort to create new post ideas or answer commentary, that not much can be explained in generalities about the phenomenon, as every story is different. I also preferred not to open up for comments in an attempt to sway people into what I believe as I am no expert, or to run the risk of creating merely a venue for debate. Lastly, I feared the topic itself, as taboo as it is, might give way to unnecessary contemplation, and thus obscure my original, more benign intention to simply give notice of the very tragic fact that they occur within the organization.

    I think it would be helpful only to mention that people probably don’t question why suicides, for instance, occur frequently under totalitarian regimes, or even in prisons for that matter. I would simply like to spark, if only a little, curiosity as to why then would they occur in such a highly esteemed and appreciated organization as AA (I mean they give you coffee and coins for free!)? I will not speak more about this, as there are other sites which have already very admirably and intelligently delved into the greater intricacies and inadequacies of AA. And I know I would be breaking those pesky rules of logic if I were to contend that AA causes suicides, which is quite irritating for someone who was extensively involved and witnessed personally the untold human indecencies that, very cunningly, typically evade the attention of non-members and, unfortunately, unsuspecting ‘newcomers.’

    With all this, it nevertheless remained important for me to raise some, if only a little, attention to the linguistic irony that abounds around AA, where a lot of tragedies do occur, though the organization continues to retain its legitimacy in promoting itself with such terms as ‘miraculous,’ ‘life-saving,’ ’succesful,’ and generally still be taken seriously. So, if only for my irritation with misleading usage of words, I chose to revive the project. It is less ambitous and more experimental this time ’round:

    If you have come across this, I just ask that you take the time to post any incidents from your tenure or familiarity with AA of fatal overdoses or suicides amongst members that you can recall. Just a few details are necessary within a comment, nothing else please. The ideal format is below:

    Date of incident:

    AA area # and district #:

    **These two pieces data can be found, if you don’t remember exactly, typically with just a little hunting on google 🙂

  14. So sad……

    Coroner: Mary Kennedy, estranged wife of Robert F. Kennedy Jr., died of asphyxiation due to hanging
    AP) BEDFORD, N.Y. – Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s estranged wife, Mary Richardson Kennedy, an architect known for her philanthropic and environmental work who also was hit with drug and alcohol charges in recent years, died of asphyxiation due to hanging, a medical examiner said Thursday.

    A person familiar with the investigation into her death says that authorities have concluded that her death was a suicide. The person was not authorized to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity. Bedford police have declined to answer questions about the circumstances of her death.

    Kennedy’s body was discovered Wednesday afternoon at the family’s property in suburban New York. The Westchester County medical examiner’s office performed an autopsy Thursday morning.;stories

  15. This came from another tragic story of AA members telling a member to not take his meds. This man committed suicide.

    Family Sues Alcoholics Anonymous Over Suicide Of AA Member

    I’m aware that AA was sued around 2007 by the family & survivor’s of a suicide victim. Said victim was schizophrenic & on medicine prescribed by a physician. If I recall correctly victim was a male, lonely, vulnerable & socially inept due to his mental illness. He began attending AA meetings in N.Y. city & finally belonged to something & had social interaction which his life lacked due to his mental illness. AA member’s were his only “friends” & social contacts. Said AA members coerced this vulnerable & ill man to stop taking his medicine & he complied with their non qualified medical advise, due to not taking the medicine, he killed himself. Through out his life he had self medicated with alcohol & street drugs, but that had stopped once he was treated by a qualified physician & on medicine. His survivors, were of course outraged @ what had occurred to him @ AA meetings, they sued, AA quietly & quickly settled for 2.7 million. I really regret I did not print the article pertaining to this lawsuit when it was available on the internet the winter of 2009/2010. It is no longer on the web, I would think due to the settlement, the agreement included a verbal & written gag on the incident. I do recall that @ first AA members in the group defended AA, however in a lawsuit, anything that gets thrown to the wall & sticks becomes part of the suit. Said AA member’s were included in the lawsuit & were going to be personally sued for their liability. Basically, if you have own or have any wealth you are fair game in a suit. Said AA member’s quickly changed their stories when they were being sued right along with AA & threw AA under the bus. I believe the recourse to take regarding the sexual abuse & exploitation that occurs in AA & that AA will not be accountable for or provide solutions or protection & is therefore grossly negligent is lawsuits. I can only surmise the first step is to find class action attorneys who want the cases, AA has deep pockets & are therefore worth class action attorneys time & attention. A class action attorney will know how to gather the victims, all said attorneys need is one victim to get the ball rolling. I am sure there are numerous & multiple AA members who have contacted the big dogs @ AA & asked for help regarding the sexual abuse & that AA pleaded not responsible. It would start with documentation of those complaints, which of course would be in writing & retained by the people who reached out to AA for help with the abuse & were ignored, the problem neglected. Once an organization is advised of misconduct, inappropriate, criminal, abusive, etc., etc., etc., behavior & actions within their organization & they do not take the appropriate measures to protect it’s members, they are liable. I do know AA tries to cover it’s ass, by writing that sexual abuse is not allowed, that member’s are not to tell other members to not take their medicine, but it’s not enough. Ultimately where AA is responsible is for participating in the court & parole & probation mandated & forced attendance of non voluntary members. AA should responsibly refuse that any member is convicted & forced to attend, however this has been AA’s bread & butter for years & without it by now the group would be as small as the prior Oxford Group is now. Will let you know any info pertaining to this.


  16. Truth is stranger than fiction. A 12 step suicide anonymous meeting? Luckily there are only 5 in the entire U.S.! As they talk about there personal failings and there are no secrets! Just what a suicidal person needs, is to make them confess all their sins and do personal inventories.That should help their self esteem. This is a non-professional, non crisis group. Wow…..

    Kevin Riordan: Together they’re recovering from addiction to suicide

    April 12, 2012|By Kevin Riordan, Inquirer Columnist

    In a compact conference room in Westmont, four men and three women talk about not killing themselves.

    They are members of Suicide Anonymous, a ’12-Step’ group for people seeking recovery from an addiction to self-destruction.

    “I long for death,” a gray-bearded man says quietly, as several people nod around the table.

    This weekly gathering at the Starting Point counseling center, and another at Hampton Behavioral Health Center in Westampton, are among only five regularly scheduled SA meetings in the United States.

    The others are in Tennessee, where the self-help group was founded in 1996 by a psychiatrist who repeatedly tried to take his own life. Every year about 35,000 Americans commit suicide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “I believe that underneath suicide is rage,” says Janet, who along with her partner, Phil, founded the South Jersey meetings in August 2010. “It’s murder . . . of the self.”

    I meet Janet, 54, and Phil, 47, at the Burlington County home they share with a mutt named Banana. The place is packed with artwork, books and inspirational doodads – such as the uplifting aphorisms on the bathroom mirror.

    Phil, a bookkeeper, and Janet, an artist and mime, both have been treated for depression and other behavioral health issues. Both have found their calling in suicide-prevention work.

    At one time, “I wanted to rid the world of me,” says Phil, who swallowed pills and slit his wrist three years ago. The scar is still visible, a pale filament across the skin.

    “I would never have attempted it if I’d had SA,” he adds.

    Modeled on Alcoholics Anonymous, the originator of the ’12-Step’ approach, SA is not a crisis center or a professional counseling service. Rather, it encourages personal responsibility, mutual support, prayer, and belief in God or another “higher power” of one’s own conception.

    Members share personal failings and feelings, including those about suicide. “We have no secrets!” Janet observes, and indeed, the talk around the Westmont table is painfully frank.

    The SA members, who range in age from their 20s to 50s, speak passionately about their emotional problems – most are or have been consumers of mental-health services – and their physical ailments, too.

    They’re smart, articulate, and caring, but they’re also angry, and deeply sad. It’s a relief, they say, to talk to other people without having to explain themselves.

  17. President Obama to recognize military suicides with condolence letters

    Reversing a longstanding policy, President Barack Obama said Wednesday he will begin sending condolence letters to the families of members of the armed services who commit suicide while in combat zones because those troops have “served our nation bravely.”

    Obama had been weighing a change in policy since December 2009 and had been urged to make the change by members of Congress and relatives of soldiers who have killed themselves. It goes into effect this week for any military suicides that take place in Iraq, Afghanistan or other combat zones.

    Read more:

    It is so sad and shocking to realize this country had not already been sending condolence letters to families of military suicides.

  18. It appears suicide in the Airforce continue to rise. Up 40% YTD!

    Chief Roy: Suicide rate in 2012 is worrisome

    By Markeshia Ricks – Staff writer
    Posted : Thursday Apr 5, 2012 16:55:02 EDT

    The number of Air Force military and civilian personnel who have committed suicide this year is up 40 percent from the same time last year, according to the service’s top noncommissioned officer.

    Chief Master Sgt. James Roy, who was guest speaker for an Air Force Association lecture series, said among all Air Force military and civilian personnel there have been 35 suicides in the first quarter of the year, compared with 25 during the same time last year.

    More Air Force personnel have died by suicide this year than the combined total of personnel who have died by accident or through combat, according to Roy.

    Roy said many of the people who took their lives had similar risk factors in common such as financial and legal trouble. But he said the No.1 issue that many of those who died had in common was some kind of relationship problem.

    He said he believes that teaching airmen to be resilient and establishing a culture of taking care of each other is part of the key to reducing the number of suicides. Part of the way the Air Force is doing this is through its Suicide Prevention Program and its Comprehensive Airman Fitness Program.

    The Air Force modeled its comprehensive fitness program after the Army and it also plans to borrow another model from that service.

    Roy said the service is advertising a contract for Air Force personnel to be trained as master resilience trainers and instructors. He said he expects the training to be up and running by May.

  19. Here is an article of the amount of suicides we have in the US Army. These soldiers need more help.

    Washington (CNN) — New statistics released by the U.S. Army on Friday show that despite years of studies, programs and high-level attention, suicide continues to plague the American military.
    So far in 2011, the Army has recorded 246 cases of confirmed or potential suicides among active duty and reserve soldiers. That number appears to be below the 2010 level of 305 for the full 12 months, but above the second-highest year — 2009, which had 242 suicides.
    The Army reported 17 potential suicides among active duty soldiers last month, 16 of which remain under investigation. Also in October, 12 potential suicides were recorded among reserve soldiers, not on active duty.
    The U.S. Marines have recorded 28 confirmed suicides and 163 attempted suicides this year through October. Current numbers were not available for the U.S. Navy, Air Force and National Guard. Those three branches reported suicides among service members in 2010 to be 39, 100 and 112, respectively.

    Rest of article-

    • I wonder. It seems any totalist environment is ripe for increased incidences of suicide. I was watching tv and was intrigued by the frequency of such occurances at the Foxconn (Apple) factory in China where working conditions are very stringent. As to the military I wonder whether the forced psychological reframing of bad (killing/violence) as good creates conflict within many soldiers. In AA, an organization founded upon and maintained on lies, most notably the coerced diagnosis of “addicts” with fatal brain diseases by “counselors,” as well as the misuse of the English language to gaslight, manipulate, ridicule, or to administer any other form of covert hate, weighs down on members in much the same way. What I find most revealing about the military and AA is that many suicides occur long after individuals have departed from those organizations. I wonder whether the fact that society at large celebrates and reiterates the principles of their former tormentors produces anguish in degrees greater than membership did itself.

      • Excellent comment.I think you are on to something with it being difficult for those that have left these organizations. Hearing society speak so favorably of them, when they have been exposed to their dark side. Then thinking it must be themselves, because everyone else thinks these groups are the best thing next to Mom and apple pie.

        How depressing can it be to believe you have an incurable brain disease that you were born with? To be reminded of your character defects, and demanding you confess all of your sins to untrained control freaks. That will undoubtedly be used against you in the future.

        When it comes to the military it is really shocking how little it is discussed. Did you know until recently the President did not call the families of loved ones who committing suicide in service? They just recently lifted that. How horrible to add insult to injury to the family all those years.

  20. Great new thread! My brother – in -law Brian Rudd Committed suicide June30, 2011 in Yonkers , NY. AA did not help. He was sober 8 years, drank, sober 8 more years. drank. But the old pals in AA judged him every time he drank and told him if he only worked his steps better. ANd they gave advice on medication that Brian eventually needed for his mental health.

    AA and NA need to be warned that they can be sued and held accountable for playing Doctor!

    Thanks for a great site.

  21. Discussion about 12 step extremists that feel not abstaining from everything including meds for depression means you are not really clean or sober.This is one of the reasons that make AA/NA dangerous to those that have mental health issues apart from their addictions. Other than the fact that AA/NA/CA members are not trained in dealing with suicide or mental health issues, some of them put great pressure on their peers in the group to not take any meds. This is really playing doctor. The Corporate offices are aware of this common practice and on paper state that this is not their policy. Yet like ignoring the other dangers of being involved with 12 step programs, they do nothing to stop this practice other than to state that is is not their official position. Pathetic. Really totally irresponsible. How many people have commited suicide after being convinced to go off their meds by fellow 12 step members? Or went through unnecessary pain and suffering by going off meds under pressure to please a sponsor?

    Excerpt from The Fix

    ‘It’s time for abstinence extremists to stop spreading the dangerous propaganda that “clean and sober” means no medications for depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Even Alcoholics Anonymous says so.'(technically on paper, in practice though-not so much!)

    Dr. Dale Archer, a clinical psychiatrist in New Orleans and New York, agrees. “You could say that most alcoholics and addicts don’t start seeking help until they begin to have problems with family, friends and career,” he says. “Even in terms of the behavioral aspects alone, there are often enough stressors to trigger depression without the addiction.” Treat the alcoholism and drug abuse, and you can lift the depression, he says. “But many addicts have real chemical-imbalance problems, and they get sober, do the 12-step program, and are still really depressed. They need either cognitive or experiential therapy—and they may well benefit from medication as well.

    Rest of The Fix article-

  22. Does Alcoholics Anonymous Cause Suicides?

    By-Stanton Peele

    ‘ I always say that AA is like God — both only get credit for the good associated with their names. But there is a tremendous cost from the many downsides of 12-step groups — the guilt they inspire among those who cannot “get with the program,” their insistence on lifetime labeling, the incestuous relationships (often sexually active) that they encourage. Your younger brother’s suicide is far from the first I am aware of among AA members. We cannot say that AA causes suicide — only that there is tremendous “denial” among AA advocates that such things happen, and thus they are completely unable to anticipate and prevent such harms when they begin to occur.’

    Entire article-

  23. This is a great idea! Facebook is getting proactive in preventing suicide.

    MENLO PARK, Calif. (AP) — Facebook is making it easier for people who express suicidal thoughts on the social networking site to get help.

    A program launching Tuesday enables users to instantly connect with a crisis counselor through Facebook’s “chat” messaging system.

    The service is the latest tool from Facebook aimed at improving safety on its site, which has more than 800 million users. Earlier this year, Facebook announced changes to how users report bullying, offensive content and fake profiles.

    “One of the big goals here is to get the person in distress into the right help as soon as possible,” Fred Wolens, public policy manager at Facebook, told The Associated Press.

    Google and Yahoo have long provided the phone number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline as the first result when someone searches for “suicide” using their sites. Through email, Facebook also directed users to the hotline or encouraged friends to call law enforcement if they perceived someone was about to do harm.

    The new service goes a step further by enabling an instant chat session that experts say can make all the difference with someone seeking help.

  24. Here is a Times article stating AA members are more depressed in the first 4 months than those in secular treatment. Because alcoholics and drug addicts are vulnerable and are at a high risk for suicide, it states it might not be a good idea to put addicts through the rigors of AA/NA dogma.

    Are 12 Steps To Many?

    For decades, the primary approach to rehabilitation in the U.S. has been 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Twelve-step doctrine defines addiction in a contradictory way: as a medical problem, like a lifelong illness, with a spiritual solution (surrendering to a higher power). The model has become so culturally hegemonic that it’s hard for many to imagine any other way to stop getting drunk or doing drugs — or gambling, overeating or watching porn, for that matter. When we see Anne Hathaway’s character in the film Rachel Getting Married at a 12-step meeting or when we watch D-list celebrities work the steps on VH1’s new reality show Celebrity Rehab Presents Sober House, it’s easy to think 12-step is not only the best way to get well, but the only way. There’s a growing body of evidence, however, that suggests that’s not so.

    Rest of Time Article-,8599,1872779,00.html?xid=rss-health

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