Suicide is becoming as big of a public health issue as the opioid crisis. In 2016 alone over 45,000 Americans took their own lives, and the numbers are on the rise. Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in America today.
In the last 15 years, antidepressant use has increased over 65%, while the suicide prevention industry has also grown to have a major cultural presence.
Prozac and other antidepressants increase the risk of “suicidal thinking and behavior in children, adolescents, and young adults” suffering from major depression. It says so in the package insert for Prozac. Take a look for yourself, as it helps to see it to actually believe it.
Prozac has long since gone off patent and in the last twenty or so years we’ve seen the development of a host of new antidepressant drugs, all of which carry similar warnings of an increased risk in suicidal thinking. Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Luvox, Paxil, Sarafem, and more.
In the same time frame suicide prevention has become a booming business, one which is primarily organized and led by pharmaceutical companies and pharmaceutical executives, and is largely funded with taxpayer money.
“Indeed, at this time,  the Foundation regularly began collaborating with pharmaceutical companies to produce “educational” materials for the public and for medical professionals. In 1997, for example, the Foundation and Wyeth-Ayerst, the manufacturer of the antidepressant Effexor, jointly produced an educational video titled “The Suicidal Patient: Assessment and Care.” The video was designed to help “primary care physicians, mental health professionals, guidance counselors, employee assistance professionals, and clergy” recognize the warning signs of suicide, and help the suicidal person get the appropriate “treatment.” Shaffer was one of the experts featured in the film.
In subsequent years, pharmaceutical companies provided funding for the Foundation to conduct surveys, run screening projects, and support research. For example, in 2009, the Foundation reported that a new screening project had been made possible by “funding from Eli Lilly and Company, Janssen, Solvay, and Wyeth.” While most of the Foundation’s revenues today comes from its Out of the Darkness Community Awareness Walks, the Foundation’s leadership continues to feature a mix of academic psychiatrists and pharmaceutical executives.
The president of the board is Jerrold Rosenbaum, chair of the psychiatry department at Massachusetts General Hospital. In the early 1990s, while being paid as an advisor to Eli Lilly, Rosenbaum defended Prozac against claims that it could induce suicidal impulses in some patients. Other members of the board today include Mann, Nemeroff, and executives from Pfizer, Allergan, and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals. Allergan executive Jonathan Kellerman chaired the Foundation’s 2018 Lifesavers fundraiser, and the organizing committee included representatives from Lundbeck, Otsuka, Janssen, Pfizer, and Sunovion Pharmaceuticals.” [Source]
The suicide prevention industry has worked its way into every level of society. Federal, state and local government agencies, trade organizations such as in the construction and railway sectors, where suicide rates are markedly high, as well as public schools, universities and church organizations are trained and encouraged to look for signs of depression and mental illness in their members.
But is the introduction of suicide prevention actually associated with lower rates of suicide? In 2004 Australian researcher Philip Burgess looked at this issue, ultimately finding that suicide rates have increased with the rollout of a bureaucratic and institutional approach to preventing suicide.
However, in their study of 100 countries, they found that, “contrary to the hypothesized relation,” the “introduction of a mental health policy and mental health legislation was associated with an increase in male and total suicide rates.” They even quantified the negative impact of specific initiatives:
The adoption of mental health legislation was associated with a 10.6% increase in suicides.
The adoption of a national mental health policy was associated with an 8.3% increase in suicides.
The adoption of a therapeutic drugs policy designed to improve access to psychiatric medications was association with a 7% increase in suicides.
The adoption of a national mental health program was associated with a 4.9% increase. [Source]
Furthermore, researchers have found that mental health initiatives in many countries is actually linked with a rise in suicide rates.
Ajit Shah and a team of UK researchers studied elderly suicide rates in multiple countries, and once again, the results confounded expectations. They found “higher rates (of suicide) in countries with greater provision of mental health services, including the number of psychiatric beds, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses, and the availability of training mental health (programs) for primary care professionals.”
In 2010, Shah and colleagues reported on an expanded study of suicide rates, this time for people of all ages in 76 countries. They found that suicide rates were higher in countries with mental health legislation, just as Burgess had found. They also reported that there was a correlation between higher suicide rates and a higher number of psychiatric beds, psychiatrists, and psychiatric nurses; more training in mental health for primary care professionals; and greater spending on mental health as a percentage of total spending on health in the country.
Finally, in 2013, A.P. Rajkumar and colleagues in Denmark assessed the level of psychiatric services in 191 countries, with a “combined population” of more than 6 billion people. This was a comprehensive global study, and, once again, they found that “countries with better psychiatric services experience higher suicide rates.” Both the “number of mental health beds and the number of psychiatrists per 100,000 population were significantly associated with higher national suicide rates (after adjusting for economic factors),” they wrote.” [Source]
If mental health screenings of patients, students or employees raise concern for an individual, that person is encouraged to seek out professional mental health, meaning doctors and psychiatrists who are qualified to prescribe antidepressants, which is the go-to treatment for mental illness today.
But just as with suicide prevention, psychiatric medications and ‘other’ mental health treatments are also linked to a rise in suicide rates.
In 2014, Danish investigators, led by Carsten Hjorthoj, determined that the risk of suicide increases dramatically with each increase in the “level of treatment.”
They found that, in comparison to age- and sex-matched controls who had no involvement with psychiatric care during the previous year, the risk of suicide was:
5.8 times higher for people receiving psychiatric medication (but no other care)
8.2 times higher for people having outpatient contact with a mental health professional
27.9 times higher for people having contact with a psychiatric emergency room
44.3 times higher for people admitted to a psychiatric hospital [Source]
The pharmaceutical, psychiatric and suicide prevention industries have grown so much in the last couple of decades, which is indicative of a ‘war on suicide,’ in much of a similar vein as the war on drugs or the war on poverty. We have the information to prove that when the government declares ‘war’ on a social issue, the end result is an exacerbation of that issue.