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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month — a time to raise awareness of this stigmatized topic. We use this month to shift public perception, spread hope, and share vital information to people affected by suicide. [The] goal is ensuring that individuals, friends, and families have access to the resources they need to discuss suicide prevention and to seek help. [Source: NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) website]
While browsing information related to mental health and Suicide Prevention Month, we found some interesting statistics. Did you know that in 2020, about 80% of all deaths by suicides were men? Other years have similar data. Why is that?
According to a study, women are twice as likely as men to experience major depression, yet women are one fourth as likely as men to take their own lives.
The study's abstract mentions that men value independence and decisiveness, and they regard acknowledging a need for help as weakness and avoid it. Women value interdependence, and they consult friends and readily accept help. Obviously there's a lot more to it than just that, but this is a worrisome trend for men.
While we're not mental health experts and don't claim to be, we do care very much about our clients. A large percentage of our customers are men. Not all of our customers struggle with mental health problems or alcohol addiction. In fact many of our customers just made a simple mistake which resulted in a DUI but otherwise lead healthy, productive lives. But some of our customers and potential customers do struggle with mental health issues and/or alcohol addiction. And sometimes our interlock devices can play a very small part in recovery from alcohol addiction.
Mental health is such an important topic in today's world. Finding healthy ways of coping with the stress of life can be challenging.
When you're stressed or upset, you may find comfort in a beer or cocktail. If you're just drinking alcohol occasionally and not using it as a primary method of drowning out your worries, there's probably no harm in having a drink. But why does alcohol cause major issues for so many people who drink it?
Many people drink alcohol because it makes them feel relaxed or happy. It may make you feel more comfortable in a group setting, and it may even make you forget about your problems temporarily. But alcohol is actually classified as a depressant.
According to American Addiction Centers, "alcohol can exacerbate the effects of certain conditions – including anxiety and depression. In some cases, excessive alcohol consumption can even lead to suicidal thoughts or tendencies."
According to NAMI, alcohol is included in both a warning sign of suicide (specifically "increased alcohol and drug use") and a risk factor of suicide (specifically "Intoxication. Analysis from the CDC indicates around 1 in 5 people who die by suicide had alcohol in their system at the time of death.").
Are you drinking because you're depressed or are you depressed because you're drinking? According to many sources, it may be both. A big portion of people with severe depression also have a drinking problem. Apparently the depression often comes first, but the two conditions can impact each other.
If you're drinking small amounts in social settings and you're not getting behind the wheel after you drink, there is probably no harm in having that cocktail. But if you find yourself drinking to drown your worries and alcohol is affecting your mental health, you may need to reach out for help.
Some people convince themselves that drinking is always fine as long as they don't get behind the wheel after. But you have a lot to gain from dealing with alcoholism and mental health concerns. If you or a loved one are feeling depressed or are turning to alcohol in an unhealthy way, you should definitely seek medical attention from someone trained to deal with these tough issues. If you need help monitoring alcohol use, call us about voluntary use of our automobile breathalyzer or portable alcohol device.
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