*** NEWS RELEASE ***
For Immediate Release
September 8, 2014: Suicide Prevention Week
World Health Organization Releases New Study, as Lighthouse Network’s Dr. Karl Benzio Reflects on Suicide Prevention Week
Philadelphia—The World Health Organization (WHO) released the results of a new study last week, which found that someone worldwide dies as a result of suicide every 40 seconds.
According to the WHO research, more than 800,000 people kill themselves every year, with the majority of suicides occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death in 15- to 29-year-olds globally.
In the U.S. in 2011, the most recent statistics available, 39,518 people died as a result of suicide—the 10th leading cause of death in America. WHO shared its findings in preparation for Suicide Prevention Week, September 8-14; September 10 is also World Suicide Prevention Day.
Karl Benzio, M.D., a psychiatrist and founder and executive director of Lighthouse Network (www.lighthousenetwork.org), an addiction and mental health counseling helpline, says that those figures may be much higher when “passive suicides” are considered.
“I traveled to Mississippi to provide Hurricane Katrina relief services and frequently heard stories of people who were overwhelmed,” Benzio said. “They didn’t necessarily want to kill themselves, but they gave up on life, stopped taking life-saving medications and died. The cause of death for these passive suicides is ruled as a result of heart disease, cancer, diabetes or another life-threatening illness. Additionally, suicides can be extremely underreported for a variety of reasons: mistakes by the coroner, the stigma associated with suicide, the uncertainty of whether accidents and overdoses were intentional, doubts with life insurance policies and family embarrassment.
“When we take these passive suicides and underreported suicides into account,” Benzio continued, “up to 360,000 Americans may have died as a result of suicide, easily making it the second-leading cause of death behind heart disease.”
Benzio added that a will to live, a resiliency to endure and the hope that peace is near and an answer is in sight are hard to come by for many.
“Standing firm on the spiritual foundation of God and the application of His promises and instruction is both preventative and therapeutic when the wounds of the spiritual war are deep or when the pain is escalating or chronic,” he said.
Experiencing suicidal tendencies is treatable, Benzio added, but requires a three-pronged treatment approach involving the spirit, mind and body, as well as a recognition of an important and necessary ongoing growth and transformation process.
He continued: “When someone comes to me and says they want to die, I reframe it for them into, ‘You don’t want to live that life, live in that pain anymore. You want the pain to end.’ I then agree with them, and state that if they are really willing to end their life, before they turn to a permanent solution to end the pain, let’s try some other options to strip off the old life and clothe with the new one, in which peace, love and forgiveness are readily available. Then we look at interventions in all three spheres—spirit, mind and body—to transition to a new life with less pain and more potential.”
Those concerned about a friend or loved one who may be having suicidal thoughts should reach out for help through a trusted mental health resource or hospital. And the most effective help will incorporate God into the healing process, because without Him, no amount of rehab, treatment or medication can bring lasting healing and transformation.
Lighthouse Network offers a free, 24-hour helpline, 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242) for those who are struggling and for their family and friends. Lighthouse Network also provides online resources for those concerned about a friend or a loved one. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/im-family-a-friend.
Benzio shares insights on various mental health issues in the one-minute daily radio feature “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” airing on approximately 425 radio stations across the country, including 200 stations in the American Family Radio Network. The purpose of the “Life Change” program is to bring scientific expertise and biblical principles together to examine some common daily struggles and help people successfully navigate life’s obstacles and enjoy fulfilled lives. For more information on “Life Change with Dr. Karl,” visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/life-change-with-dr-karl/.
Lighthouse Network works to guide struggling people through storms to achieve peace and find answers for those who have a hard time defining their problems. Lighthouse Network also offers the free, 24-hour Lighthouse Life Change Helpline toll-free at 1-844-LIFE-CHANGE (1-844-543-3242).
Lighthouse Network’s web site, www.lighthousenetwork.org,provides information to those struggling to find help for their addiction problems, as well as to family members searching for help for a loved one. Topics addressed include alcohol abuse, addictions, and other mental health or life management issues.
Lighthouse Network offers several resources for those struggling with addiction and their families, such as Stepping Stones, a free daily devotional for managing life’s stressors and storms and equipping readers with healthy decision-making skills. Visit www.lighthousenetwork.org/stepping-stones/ to read the devotionals and sign up to receive them daily via email.