If depressive illnesses are left untreated, they can be fatal. 30,000 people kill themselves in the U.S. every year. It is estimated that the actual figure may be 3 times that number due to inaccurate reporting, i.e. suicides recorded as accidental instead. The Journal of the American Medical Association has reported that 95% of all suicides occur at the peak of a depressive episode. Healthy people do not kill themselves. Depressive illnesses can distort a person’s thinking, so they don’t think clearly or rationally. They may not know they have a treatable illness, or they may think that they can’t be helped. Their illness can cause thoughts of hopelessness and helplessness, which may then lead to suicidal thoughts. In order to save lives, it’s critical that society recognize the warning signs of these biological diseases that cause suicide. But there is still stigma associated with these illnesses which prevents public education and early treatment for sufferers. The topic of suicide has always been taboo. It is a subject that is so misunderstood by people, thereby allowing myths to be perpetuated. Education is the key to understanding this incredible tragedy that, in many cases, might be prevented.
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