In Loving Memory
Dennis Ralph Yarbrough Jr.
March 11th, 1976 - February 11th, 1997

I lost my only child, my son to suicide...Why he choose death over living I'll never understand. I have so many if only's or why's. I have built this memorial to help keep his memory alive and to help me cope with his death. His dad and I like so many other parents never thought that our child would take their own life. But we woke up one morning to a never ending nightmare. Now we're left with memories and questions that won't never be answered... I wanted to include this page in his memorial in hopes that if one person reads this page along with the rest of his pages that maybe they'll find the answers they were looking for or maybe they'll make a different choice. If you know someone who is depressed or suicidal or if you are...Please get help! Make the choice to live!
Don't be a memory to someone you love...


Suicide Awareness Questionnaire
Print the questionnaire & take the quiz

1). T F Suicide is not about death, it is about ending the pain
2). T F The majority of completed suicides occur in gifted/high achieving teens.
3). T F A youth or teen who suddenly exhibits a cheerful attitude after being depressed is no longer in imminent danger.
4). T F If a person truly wants to die by suicide, nothing can be done to stop it.
5). T F More girls than boys attempt suicide.
6). T F Teens who threaten or attempt suicide are only looking for attention.
7). T F Most teens who complete suicide use a firearm.
8). T F Friends shouldn't do anything in a suicidal crisis -- only professionals are qualified to help.
9). T F There is no correlation between substance abuse and suicide.

Suicide Awareness Questionnaire Answers:

1). T Suicide is not about death, it is about ending the pain
2). T The majority of completed suicides occur in gifted/high achieving teens.
3). F A youth or teen who suddenly exhibits a cheerful attitude after being depressed is no longer in imminent danger.
4). F If a person truly wants to die by suicide, nothing can be done to stop it.
5). T More girls than boys attempt suicide.
6). F Teens who threaten or attempt suicide are only looking for attention.
7). T Most teens who complete suicide use a firearm.
8). F Friends shouldn't do anything in a suicidal crisis -- only professionals are qualified to help.
9). F There is no correlation between substance abuse and suicide.


Over 30,000 people in the United States kill themselves every year.
Currently, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the U.S.
A person dies by suicide about every eighteen minutes in the U.S. An attempt is estimated to be made once every minute.
Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
There are more than four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females as males attempt suicide.
Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life, and 1,500 more attempt to do so.


Suicide is the fifth leading cause of death among all those 5–14 years old.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among all those 15–24 years old.
The suicide rate for white males aged 15–24 has tripled since 1950, while for white females it has more than doubled.
Between 1980–1996, the suicide rate for African-American males aged 15–19 has also doubled.
Risk factors for suicide among the young include suicidal thoughts, psychiatric disorders (such as depression, impulsive aggressive behavior, bipolar disorder, certain anxiety disorders), drug and/or alcohol abuse and previous suicide attempts, with the risk increased if there is situational stress and access to firearms.


The suicide rates for men rise with age, most significantly after age 65.
White men over 50 who make up less than a quarter of the population are responsible for almost 40 percent of all suicides.
The suicide rates for women peak between the ages of 45–64 years old, and do so again after age 75.
Most elderly patients who complete suicide see their physicians within a few months of their death and more than a third within the week of their suicide.
Eight to 20 percent of older Americans and up to 37 percent in primary care settings experience symptoms of depression.
Risk factors for suicide among the elderly include the presence of a mental illness — especially depression and alcohol abuse; the presence of a physical illness; social isolation — especially being widowed in males; and the availability of firearms in the home.


*** Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 19 million people.
More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (7 million), cancer (6 million) and AIDS (200,000) combined.
About 15 percent of the population will suffer from clinical depression at some time during their lifetime. Thirty percent of all clinically depressed patients attempt suicide; half of them ultimately succeed.
Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Some estimates suggest that between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.


Ninety-six percent of alcoholics who die by suicide continue their substance abuse up to the end of their lives.
Alcoholism is a factor in about 30 percent of all completed suicides.
Approximately 7 percent of those with alcohol dependence will die by suicide.


Although most gun owners reportedly keep a firearm in their home for “protection” or “self defense,” 83 percent of gun related deaths in these homes are the result of a suicide, often by someone other than the gun owner.
Firearms are used in more suicides than homicides.
Death by firearms is the fastest growing method of suicide.


Patients who desire an early death during a serious or terminal illness are usually suffering from a treatable depressive condition.
People with AIDS have a suicide risk up to 20 times that of the general population.
Studies indicate that the best way to prevent suicide is through the early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

*Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics for the year 2001


Symptoms of Depression and Manic Depression

The symptoms of Depressive Illness are highly recognizable, both to those affected and to those closest to them, once they are told what to look for.

Here is a checklist of symptoms of Depressive illness:

*Loss of energy and interest.
*Diminished ability to enjoy oneself.
*Decreased -- or increased -- sleeping or appetite.
*Difficulty in concentrating; indecisiveness; slowed or fuzzy thinking.
*Exaggerated feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or anxiety.
*Feelings of worthlessness.
*Recurring thoughts about death and suicide.
*If most of these symptoms last for two weeks or more, you probably have Depressive Illness. Sometimes depression alternates with "mania" and is called Manic-Depressive Illness.

Manic Depression causes mood swings creating periods with the following symptoms:

*A high energy level with decreased need for sleep.
*Unwarranted or exaggerated belief in one's own ability.
*Extreme irritability.
*Rapid, unpredictable emotional change.
*Impulsive, thoughtless activity, with a high risk of damaging consequences (i.e., stock speculations, sudden love affairs, etc.).

Failure To Diagnose:

Studies have revealed that of those individuals who do eventually seek help, only a fraction seek out a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of Depressive Illness.
More and more nonspecialists are learning to diagnose and treat depression, but too often, when medication is needed, it is not prescribed or is prescribed ineffectively. We are doing our best to educate professionals in depression's proper diagnosis and medical treatment.

Correct Diagnosis, Wrong Treatment

When Depressive Illness is diagnosed, minor tranquilizers and sleeping pills are prescribed twice as often as the right medication; and even when the right medication is prescribed, dosages are frequently lower than those needed to achieve an adequate level of therapeutic benefit.

Correct Diagnosis and Correct Treatment Are Available

The principal medications used in treating Depressive Illness are cyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, and newer "third generation" medications. Only patients with a Depressive Illness will experience a positive response, which may take up to six weeks. Lithium, a natural salt, is effective in the treatment of mania and, sometimes, of depression. On occasion, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)is useful, particularly for individuals whose depression is incapacitating, severe, life-threatening, or for those who cannot take or do not respond to antidepressant medications.
For proper diagnosis of Depressive Illness and administration of antidepressant medication, physicians expert in diagnosis and biochemical therapy must be consulted. All physical treatments incur the risks of side effects and make informed medical monitoring a mandatory part of all treatment.
Over 80 percent of those treated with these medications respond favorably, and most are able to resume normal activity. Many find psychotherapy or counseling useful as well.


This article courtesy of


Someone suffering a clinical depression needs medication and therapy. In addition, here are some things you can do for them as a loving person in their life, or as their personal life coach.

1). Be clear in your mind that they need medication and therapy, and project this. Encourage them to continue both. Make it clear it's now the new routine.

2). There should be Guide Dogs for the Depressed. If the depressed loved-one or client in your life doesn't have a companion pet, give them a well-trained, easy-to-manage, older one. This is particularly important if they live alone. Specify that you will take care of the dog in terms of vet care and bills, and provide a starter-kit--huge bag of dog food and container, food and water dishes, bedding, etc. In other words, make it easy for them to accept this healing gift. I have a depressed coaching client in Manhattan suffering the aftermath of Nine One One who mostly talks to me about her beloved companion dog. I consider "Cody" part of the healing team for this woman.

3). Make any decision you can for the person. In other words, don't say "Would you like to go out for dinner tonight? Where would you like to go?" Say instead, "We're going to Bijan's tomorrow night for dinner. I'll pick you up at 7:00. Just wear your jeans." Once there, offer to order for the person.

4). Speak in normal, modulated tones. Avoid an overly-'compassionate' look of concern or a patronizing tone of voice. If they have trouble making a decision or remembering something, keep your eyes from looking overly concerned or worried. This will only add to their worry and confusion.

5). Just be with them. Don't hover, try to cheer them up, argue, try to 'get a rise out of them,' or ask them 'talk about it.' Cognitive processes are slowed, and emotionally, they're in conflict. Under those circumstances, it's difficult to talk. It's hard to connect with people, even best-beloved ones, when you're clinically depressed--hard to maintain eye-contact and to follow long sentences and thoughts. A metaphor I use is play lacrosse with them, don't face off with them on the football line. Be 'around' them, not 'in their face.'

6). Don't put them in a position that would arouse emotions. Celebrations, holidays, receiving gifts, or a long discourse on foreign policy all require a level of involvement the depressed person is not capable of.

7). Be grounded and stay centered yourself. Remind yourself of your love for them that will endure "even this."

8). When the person begins to heal is a wonderful time for them to have a coach.


Suicide: No suicide attempt should be dismissed or treated lightly!

Why Do People Commit Suicide?

A suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life. No matter the race or age of the person; how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who commit suicide have a mental or emotional disorder. The most common underlying disorder is depression, 30% to 70% of suicide victims suffer from major depression or bipolar (manic-depressive) disorder.

Warning Signs of Someone Considering Suicide

Any one of these symptoms does not necessarily mean the person is suicidal, but several of these symptoms may signal a need for help:

Verbal suicide threats such as, “You’d be better off without me.” or “Maybe I won’t be around.”

Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness.

Previous suicide attempts.

Daring or risk-taking behavior.

Personality changes.


Giving away prized possessions.

Lack of interest in future plans.

Remember: Eight out of ten suicidal persons give some sign of their intentions. People who talk about suicide, threaten to commit suicide, or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves.

What To Do If You Think Someone Is Suicidal

Trust your instincts that the person may be in trouble.

Talk with the person about your concerns. Communication needs to include LISTENING.

Ask direct questions without being judgmental. Determine if the person has a specific plan to carry out the suicide. The more detailed the plan, the greater the risk.

Get professional help, even if the person resists.

Do not leave the person alone.

Do not swear to secrecy.

Do not act shocked or judgmental.

Do not counsel the person yourself.

The Statistics of Suicide

Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for more than 1% of all deaths. More years of life are lost to suicide than to any other single cause except heart disease and cancer. 30,000 Americans commit suicide annually; an additional 500,000 Americans attempt suicide annually. The actual ratio of attempts to completed suicides is probably at least 10 to 1. 30% to 40% of persons who commit suicide have made a previous attempt. The risk of completed suicide is more than 100 times greater than average in the first year after an attempt - 80 times greater for women, 200 times greater for men, 200 times greater for people over 45, and 300 times greater for white men over 65. Suicide rates are highest in old age: 20% of the population and 40% of suicide victims are over 60. After age 75, the rate is three times higher than average, and among white men over 80, it is six times higher than average. Substance abuse is another great instigator of suicide; it may be involved in half of all cases. About 20% of suicides are alcohol abusers, and the lifetime rate of suicide among alcoholics is at least three or four times the average. Completed suicides are more likely to be men over 45 who are depressed or alcoholic.

Preventing Suicide

Although they may not call prevention centers, suicidal people usually do seek help; for example, nearly three-fourths of all suicide victims visit a doctor in the four months before their deaths, and half in the month before.

Helping a Suicidal Person

No single therapeutic approach is suitable for all suicidal persons or suicidal tendencies. The most common ways to treat underlying illnesses associated with suicide are with medication, talk therapy or a combination of the two.

Cognitive (talk therapy) and behavioral (changing behavior) therapies aim at relieving the despair of suicidal patients by showing them other solutions to their problems and new ways to think about themselves and their world. Behavioral methods, such as training in assertiveness, problem-solving, social skills, and muscle relaxation, may reduce depression, anxiety, and social ineptitude.

Cognitive and behavioral homework assignments are planned in collaboration with the patient and explained as experiments that will be educational even if they fail. The therapist emphasizes that the patient is doing most of the work, because it is especially important for a suicidal person not to see the therapist as necessary for their survival.

Recent research strongly supports the use of medication to treat the underlying depression associated with suicide. Antidepressant medication acts on chemical pathways of the brain related to mood. There are many very effective antidepressants. The two most common types are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Other new types of antidepressants (e.g. alpha-2 antagonist, selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and aminoketones), and an older class, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), are also prescribed by some doctors.

Antidepressant medications are not habit-forming. Although some symptoms such as insomnia, often improve within a week or two, it may take three or four weeks before you feel better; the full benefit of medication may require six to eight weeks of treatment. Sometimes changes need to be made in dosage or medication type before improvements are noticed. It is usually recommended that medications be taken for at least four to nine months after the depressive symptoms have improved. People with chronic depression may need to stay on medication to prevent or lessen further episodes.

People taking antidepressants should be monitored by a doctor who knows about treating clinical depression to ensure the best treatment with the fewest side effects. It is also very important that your doctor be informed about all other medicines that are taken, including vitamins and herbal supplements, in order to help avoid dangerous interactions. Alcohol or other drugs can interact negatively with antidepressant medication.

Do not discontinue medication without discussing the decision with your doctor.

Resources in Your Community

Telephone hotlines (Can be obtained from the telephone book, local Mental Health Associations, community centers, or United Way chapters)
Medical professionals
Law-enforcement agencies

More Information

National Mental Health Association

800-SUICIDE. (1-800-784-2433)
This will connect you with a crisis center in your area.

American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

American Association of Suicidology

Suicide Prevention Advocacy Network


Links to websites with information on Depression/ ADHD/Suicide





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