September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month and September 28th marks the one year anniversary of the death of pioneering veterinary behaviorist, Dr. Sophia Yin, to suicide.
Dr. Sophia Yin was an amazing woman and veterinarian. She was one of the major forces behind positive approach training as well as fear free or low stress handling and veterinary visits. Her death shocked the community – it is a tragic loss we will feel forever. A loss that I believe is preventable. We need to start discussing mental illness openly. We need to start being kind to one another.
Animal health care workers are at great risk for secondary traumatic stress disorder which is more commonly known as compassion fatigue. It is believed that STSD is one of the main reasons why veterinarians are four times more likely to die by suicide than people in other professions. A staggering statistic that we all need to work to change.
A depressing subject, I know, but one that is really important and personal to me. Here are some head turning statistics that I hope will at least make one person reading this do something that may save a life.
- There is one death by suicide every 40 seconds
- Over 800,000 people die by suicide every year
- Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 – 24 year olds.
- Suicide is the 3rdleading cause of death in the world for those aged 15-44 years.
- Suicide is the 10thleading cause of death in the US for all ages.
But here is the good news:
- 80% -90% of people that seek treatment for depression are treated successfully using therapy and/or medication
Let’s help someone. A smile. A kind word. A hello. Suicide attempt survivors have said that if someone would have just smiled at them or asked them how they were they probably wouldn’t have made the attempt. How hard is it to smile at some one? Food for thought.