Arlee, Montana (08:36)
Greg Whitesell was a star athlete for the Arlee Warriors but suffered from concussions and depression. The town of Arlee, on the Flathead Indian Reservation, had a spike in suicides.
Prevalence of Suicide (02:15)
Whitesell, like most in Arlee, knew someone who had died by suicide. Teenagers are more likely to reach out to peers than adults about suicidal thoughts. The CDC has labeled suicide as a public health crisis.
Suicide in Rural America (08:43)
Middle-aged and elderly white men have the highest suicide rate. In rural America, many of those men are farmers who worry about finances, like Chris. Most rural counties lack mental health professionals.
Suicide Prevention (03:20)
Many suicides can be stopped if someone is there to help. Psychologist and farmer Dr. Michael Rossman makes house calls to help patients find treatment facilities.
Suicide Risk Factors (07:10)
Scientists are researching prevention methods. Suicide has no one cause but a mental health condition or substance abuse are common factors. Researchers at Columbia University study the biology of depression in the brain.
Genetic and Environmental Risks (06:43)
Suicide can run in families and about 50% of the risk is based on genetics. The remaining 50% comes from environmental factors, like unemployment or trauma. Experiences can create gene expression and contribute to suicidal behavior.
Trauma and Suicide (05:23)
The Arlee Warriors basketball team became the only relief for the reservation gripped by suicide. The players felt pressure to succeed. Historical trauma can be expressed in a person's genes and contributes to Native American's having a higher suicide rate.
Community Support for Suicide (04:35)
Whitesell's friends responded quickly when he reached out for help. Peer to peer communication is one of the best preventions of youth suicide.
Family Support for Suicide (06:59)
Fonda's depression began as a teenager. Before her most serious suicide attempt, she called her aunt, who identified that something was wrong. Her aunt had her involuntarily committed, saving her life.
Interpersonal Theory of Suicide (05:18)
Clinical Psychologist Thomas Joiner studies the behavior and beliefs of people who died by suicide. He developed a theory that identifies three processes combining to cause a suicide attempt— perceived burdensomeness, thwarted belongingness, and capacity for suicide.
Signs of Suicide (03:37)
Noticing signs of suicide before a crisis is the best prevention method. Those who spend the most time with a person are the most likely to notice a difference in personality. When concerned, people should ask a person directly if they are going to hurt themselves.
Suicide Safety Plan (04:28)
Psychologists developed a safety plan to help people cope with suicidal thoughts and work through their emotional crisis. Patients learn to identify their own warning signs and coping strategies.
Lethal Means of Suicide (02:43)
Guns are the main means of suicide in the United States. Most suicidal crises are one to 10 minutes long, so not having access to lethal means can lead to prevention.
National Response to Suicide (06:53)
Denmark has government run suicide clinics and prevention programs. Many lethal methods of suicide are strictly regulated.
Suicide Reduction Activism (06:34)
Mental health experts say more funding and better organization could help reduce the suicide crisis in America. Reducing stigma through activism is important. The Arlee community created a suicide prevention campaign.
Credits: Facing Suicide (00:35)
Credits: Facing Suicide
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