Sidebar Information from "Depths of Depression" Article


Suicide Graph Solutions
These Minnesota agencies and organizations provide resources for people with depression and their families:



State pushes suicide prevention plan
As suicide rates rise across the country, the Minnesota Health Department is working to create a statewide suicide prevention plan.
Prompted by a call to action by the U.S. surgeon general, the Minnesota project is funded by state legislation. It is fueled by national statistics such as these:
  • About 30,000 people commit suicide each year.
  • The No. 1 cause of suicide is untreated depression.
  • About 80 percent of people with depression can be successfully treated, but only 30 percent seek help.
  • Of that number, slightly more than half are accurately diagnosed and receive appropriate treatment.
Symptoms signal depression
If at least four of these symptoms persist for more than two weeks, a doctor or psychiatrist should be consulted:
  • Persistent sad or "empty" mood.
  • Feeling hopeless, helpless, worthless, pessimistic, or guilty.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex.
  • Disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns.
  • Irritability, crying, anxiety and panic attacks.
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions.
  • Thoughts or plans of suicide.
  • Persistent physical symptoms or pains that do not respond to treatment.
Look for suicidal signs
  • Increasing depression, uncommunicativeness and withdrawal.
  • Final arrangements, such as giving possessions away.
  • Risk-taking, or self-destructive behaviors.
  • Sudden elevated mood, which can provide the energy to end one's life.
  • Pre-suicidal statements about suicide, hopelessness or death.
Ask these questions
  • "Are you thinking of suicide?"
  • "Do you have a plan? A means or method?"
  • "When?"
Take these actions
  • Take charge. Arrange for professional treatment.
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • If the crisis appears acute, dial 911.
  • Recognize you cannot control all the outcomes.

Source: Minnesota Department of Health, Suicide Awareness/Voices of Education.


St. Paul Pioneer Press, November 14, 1999