Year after year, we see suicidal deaths on the rise. But did you know that women are roughly three times more likely to attempt suicide, though less likely to die from the attempt, than men? And, over half of the women who’ve died from suicide have attempted it before?
There was one suicide recently that really stuck out in our minds. Designer Kate Spade was an extremely successful businesswoman and mother, who built her company from the ground up.
While it’s tough to understand why she took her life, we can certainly understand the impacts that come with a highly stressful career, especially as a woman. Many times when we see these women succumb to suicide, we think, “Why? They had everything they could ever want? What would make life so unbearable for them?”
Sadly, we’ve seen a notably steeper rise in suicide rates for women during the last decade — a 50% increase from 2000 to 2016, across all age groups. The age group with the highest rate of suicide is 45-64.
Overall, suicide rates among white, middle-aged women are soaring. At this age group, we see women in the height of their careers, with partners and families. So what is making women feel so hopeless?
The burden of “doing it all” seems to be a significant factor in women and their depression and suicidal tendencies. Women are overburdened at work and at home, experiencing much higher expectations than their male counterparts. This is contributing to women feeling more levels of anxiety, depression and experiencing breakdowns.
Women are also more likely to be the source of primary income for their families than ever before, adding more pressure to an already overwhelming situation. Women in this age group are also the primary caregivers for the families, often times taking care of both their children and aging family members. Not only are these stressors leading to anxiety and depression, but they are also causing alcohol and drug addictions for many women.
With all the stresses women are facing with finances, children, marriage, and elderly parents are leading to opioid overdoses, suicides, and diseases related to alcoholism are all often “deaths of despair,” according to this study.
What can we do to lessen the stress that women face?
Most women feel they can’t say no to the stress they are facing. And they don’t take the time to take care of themselves. Lack of control and fear of failure are stopping women from looking for help. We must realize that taking care of ourselves isn’t selfish, but a necessity for our emotional and physical wellbeing.
Knowing the warning signs of suicide is vital to stopping it.
To help prevent suicide, here are some signs to be on the lookout for:
Extreme sadness or moodiness.
A deep sense of hopelessness about the future.
Sudden calmness after a period of depression or moodiness.
Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends and/or social activities.
For more information on signs to look out for, to prevent suicide, click here.
National Suicide Prevention Week (NSPW) is this week. During this annual week-long campaign, we aim to inform and engage both health professionals and the general public about the warning signs and the ways you can prevent suicide.
By taking the time to draw attention to the problem of suicide in the United States, the campaign also strives to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic. With that, the goal is to also encourage the pursuit of mental health assistance to those who have attempted suicide.
The best way to prevent and reduce the likelihood of suicide is to:
know the risk factors,
be alert to the signs of depression and other mental disorders,
recognize the warning signs for suicide,
and intervene before the person can complete the process of self-destruction.
And if you know someone that is suicidal, don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask if they’re depressed. Remember, people who receive support from caring friends and family and who have access to mental health services are less likely to act on their suicidal impulses than are those who are socially isolated.
Ande has made it her mission to break down the emotional, behavioral and societal barriers that stand between women and strong financial foundations. She's widely recognized as a driving force in the financial community, having risen to the top of the primarily male-dominated insurance world as the former head of a multi-million-dollar fintech company and a VP at Penn Mutual. Ande launched myWorth to inspire a financial awakening among women who are eager to take control of their financial journeys. Her first book will be published in October 2019.