We recently suffered two celebrity suicides within one week. Anthony Bourdain,
the chef and TV host, recently took his own life in Paris, while Kate
Spade, the fashion designer, ended hers in New York.
These two high profile cases are part of an unfortunate trend: a dramatic
increase in suicide rates. The numbers in America are alarming. The U.S.
suicide rate rose by 25 percent over the past two decades. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., and the second leading cause of death
among people 15 to 34. Rates of suicide have increased in all but one
state. There are many more suicide deaths than combat deaths among members
and former members of the U.S. military.
Almost 45,000 suicides occurred in the United States in 2016. That’s
more than twice the number of homicides, which receive far more media
These general numbers are bad enough. Unfortunately, our experience with
injured clients tells us that they are particularly vulnerable to depression
and suicidal thoughts. Injury, which can result in huge medical bills,
inability to work, and chronic pain, can be psychologically overwhelming
for even the strongest people. Getting hit with all these things at once
can turn someone from feeling hopeful to hopeless very quickly.
Not surprisingly, our injured clients often score in dangerous ranges on
psychological tests for depression and suicide risk. This is even true
of tests given by psychologists or others hired by the defense. Defense
examiners often fail to mention these findings, and when confronted with
them, try to downplay or dismiss them. But that doesn’t change the
reality of what our injured clients are facing.
The good news is that there is hope, and help, for people going through
the toughest of times. We encourage any injured person to seek help if
they are feeling overwhelmed by the hand they’ve been dealt. Help
is available through multiple community sources, mental health providers,
and suicide hotlines. Resources can be found within minutes on the internet,
and intervention and treatment can be very effective.
In our experience, clients who keep it together in tough times find light
at the end of the tunnel. Seriously injured people generally receive compensation
which helps put them back on a firm financial footing. Just being done
with the legal process usually helps people move on too.
Even though many clients are left with residual disabilities or physical
limitations after suffering serious injuries, most do improve after the
“trauma phrase.” Many clients have told us that learning to
live with their limitations, which involves things like changing the way
they bend, walk, or sleep, goes a long way toward improving their lives.
This is a tough topic to talk about, but one which deserves attention.
It would be wrong to ignore something which puts so many people at risk.