Suicide Awareness: Women and MenopauseSeptember is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. We thought it prescient to bring this somber topic up considering some serious statistics.
- In the United States, suicide rates are rising faster among women than among men.
- A 2009 study of European women found that women in the perimenopausal period were at an almost 7-fold increased risk of suicidal ideation.
- The higher rate of suicide in women aged 45–54 years may be related to the biological changes associated with menopause.
Suicide Prevention: Risk Factors and Warning Signs
It is generally accepted that people struggling with suicidal ideation do not actually want to die. Rather, they want whatever difficult situation or pain they’re dealing with to stop and they struggle to think of any other viable ways to make that happen. That’s why it’s so important to know the risk factors and warning signs for suicide prevention. We have to look out for each other and be there when someone is struggling – it can make the difference between life and death.
- Health struggles (both mental and physical)
- Substance abuse
- Traumatic brain injury
- Prolonged stress
- Major life changes (including biological changes like those that happen in menopause)
- Familial history of suicide attempts
- History of physical abuse
- Expresses hopelessness
- Speaks of being a burden
- Says they’re in unbearable pain
- Withdrawal from activities
- Over or under sleeping
- Visiting/calling to say goodbye
- Giving away prized possessions
- Appearing resolved – even euphoric – after prolonged depression
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the various risk factors and warning signs one may see. There is no single reason behind suicidal ideation as it presents differently in every person. The most important thing is to be gentle yet proactive if you suspect someone you love is struggling with this serious mental health issue.
If you need support for someone you know or yourself in the United States, we have the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) which is a federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. If you are outside of the US, please reference this list of international help hotlines to connect to an appropriate resource.