Editorial: At least there is still suicide prevention help

Editorial: At least there is still suicide prevention help
June 14
05:00 2018

Last week, two celebrities committed suicide. 

And the Justice Department said the individual mandate of the Affordable Care Act, which requires Americans to have insurance, is unconstitutional and the department won’t defend it in court, National Public Radio says. The Justice Department is asking a federal court to strike down key elements of the law, a new blow to the health law and the stability of the individual insurance market, the Wall Street Journal says.

These news items might not seem related, but they could be. The Affordable Care Act provides health care to so many people who would not otherwise have health care. What if the breakdown in the coverage leads to more people committing suicide because they could not get the health care they need to avoid that?

It has been said that people emulate famous people who commit suicide, such as what appears happened when Maryland Monroe overdosed on barbiturates in 1962. There could be people thinking of following the lead of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. What if health care could prevent them from following through but it is not there to prevent that?

What if someone is in so much pain that they want to die? What if they can’t get the health care they need and they just give in to the thought of suicide?

There is a hotline people can call that will guide people to help. If you need help or know someone who does, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, toll free, at 1-800-273-8255. It’s available 24 hours every day.

The News and Observer in Raleigh reports that people in N.C. who call the national lifeline number are referred to the North Carolina help center in Greenville. 

The newspaper reports that calls to North Carolina’s main suicide hotline nearly doubled following the deaths of the celebrities. Last week’s rise in calls to the N.C. center reflected a national trend. Calls to the national lifeline were 25 percent higher last Thursday and Friday compared to the preceding week, a lifeline spokesperson told USA Today. Experts say media coverage of celebrity deaths can lead to an increase in suicide rates.

The News and Observer reports that the deaths of Spade and Bourdain occurred the same week the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data on suicide deaths. 

Suicides are on the rise in every state but Nevada and it’s now the 10th-leading cause of death in the United States, the CDC reported. North Carolina’s suicide rate increased 12.7 percent from 1999 to 2016, about half the national average.

The Justice Department has not explained how people are supposed to get help regarding their health without the Affordable Care Act. At least there is still a Lifeline available to attempt to help prevent people from committing suicide.

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