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10 Ways to Assess Suicide Risk using the “SADPERSONS” Scale

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Suicide is a major public health concern. It ranks 10th as the leading cause of death for all ages. In the United States alone, suicide accounts for one death every 12.3 minutes. It is estimated that more than 30,000 Americans committed suicide in any given year. The numbers are equally dismal for Canadians.  Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for adolescents and young adults and the 2nd for 24 to 34 year-olds. For every suicide, at least 6 other individuals are intimately affected, whether family, friends or peers. More than 80 percent of people who attempt suicide suffer from depression or other mental illness.

The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection and treatment. Researchers have discovered that certain factors can greatly increase the risk of suicide and have coined the acronym “SADPERSONS” to describe them. Here is a list of those 9 suicide risk factors…

1. S: SEX

Males account for up to 80 percent of all suicides whereas females make more attempts and are more likely to have chronic thoughts of suicide.  Males commit suicide 3.5 times more than females. Males are also use more lethal methods such as hanging and firearms; whereas females more often use overdosing on medications.

Some theorists propose that females have more social connections, family, and friends they can turn to for emotional support whereas men are socialized to be strong and keep their feelings bottled up inside. The stigma that they should just “suck it up”, act like a man, etc. Showing feelings or vulnerability is often perceived as weakness or non-masculine, making it difficult for men to seek appropriate help.

Depression LD

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