Five Facts you may not know about Suicide…. And Intersection with Diversity (Monthly Guest Blog by Brandon Garrick)

Isolation, loneliness and rejection often contribute to people attempting suicide. (Photo courtesy of

Here is the next monthly guest blog from my cousin Brandon Garrick, Masters of Social Work Candidate at North Carolina State University. As a diversity consultant, I do see the connection between these suicide facts and the relevance to various diversity constituencies.

As a future clinical social worker and mental health professional, I often read various data on suicide. I think it would be fair to say most people know that suicide is a national public health issue in the United States. However it is likely possible there are certain facts that people may not be aware of about suicide in our country.

Suicide is indeed a social issue that affects everybody and can result from severe depression. Depression faces negative stigma from society at times and can be hard to treat. I recently found out that a fellow classmate from high school had died by suicide. The overall realization that somebody as young as myself would ponder that life wasn’t worth living anymore is disheartening. Therefore my goal is to raise awareness and possible inform people about things they may have not know about suicide.

1. Veterans are at higher risk of suicide then those who did not serve. Veterans are twice as likely as civilians to die by suicide, according to the Veteran Affairs. Veterans make up more than 14 percent of all suicides, although they account for only 8 percent of the total population. I recently attended the 2018 NASW (National Association of Social Workers) national conference in Washington D.C. where I discussed the problems of suicide within our veteran populations. I was then informed that more veterans are killed by suicide then in active combat. The mental health of our veterans needs improvement!

2. Firearms account for more than half of suicides in the United States. I am by far not making an argument that we need tougher gun control in our country. That is a political discussion for another day. However it is important to note that firearms contribute to more than half of the suicides in the United States. There are a lot of responsible gun owners who lock up their firearms responsibility, but we need to remain open to hear any possible solutions to this specific problem.

3. Men are at higher risk of death by suicide then women. Men die by suicide 3.53 times more often than women. This fact can be attributed to many various factors. However it is important to realize that women aren’t the only ones who need help. There is often a negative stigma men face for receiving help for feeling depressed. Therefore if you are or know a man who is feeling depressed, don’t wait to get or get them help.

4. The LGBT community is at higher risks of suicide. Various psychological and sociological studies have indicated that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations are at increased risks for suicide. The higher prevalence of suicide can be linked to higher incidence of mental disorders in these populations—in particular, depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. And much of this is caused by negative oppression from the family, the church and society as a whole.

5. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. As a college student myself, this fact is disheartening. The only thing that lead to more deaths of college students is vehicle related deaths. Suicide is a major issue for our college youth and can stem from various things. This is why it is important to have counseling resources on campus for all students.

I may expand on some of these five areas in future blogs. For now, here is the national suicide lifeline if anybody needs it. 1-800-273-8255

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Guest blogger Brandon Garrick is a Masters of Social Work Candidate at NC State University

Brandon Garrick is my second cousin who I enjoy spending a lot if time with. He recently completed his Bachelor of Sociology at North Carolina State University, and has now entered their Master’s Program of Social Work. He worked full time at North Carolina’s Central Prison as a corrections officer while completing his bachelor’s degree, and has a deep concern about the many social issues facing our nation and the world. He will now be a regular guest blogger discussing these various issues.

Veteran’s Day 2017 Blog – Comprehensive Coordinated Support for Our Veterans

Photo sources: The C-Square and

Please do share this blog with a veteran or their family member who can use many of the useful links to help find needed services!

Within the diversity and inclusion sphere, Veterans are very often included as a key diversity constituency. Many companies do have Veterans groups within their portfolio of Employee Resource Groups and hiring initiatives to support veterans. And veterans are also one of those diversity groups that truly intersects all the others: gender, race, LGBT and certainly people with disabilities given the physical and mental challenges many veterans face when returning home.

There years ago I was pleased to publish the blog, “The Value of Hiring our Veterans.” And I was proud to share that I was now a member of the North Carolina Governor’s Working Group on Veterans, Service Members and Their Families. And I was pleased to present “Introduction to LGBT Considerations in Mental Health Challenges,” at the May, 2015 working group meeting. It is important to note that our gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service members serving our country truly deserve the same respect and support as all veterans.

At our most recent working group meeting in October, Ilario Pantano, formerly the State of North Carolina’s Director of Veteran Affairs and now Senior Director for Community Services with the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) presented a stirring overview of the excellent progress over the past three years and the importance of our work.

What is special about what the working group, NCServes, AmericaServes and the Institute for Veteran and Military Families? Over the past three years, these teams have worked together to foster networking across the many different private and governmental agencies that support veterans in many different ways.

The NC Vets Resource Guide is published annual with scores of various resources with contacts for assistance.

There is certainly no lack of resources and efforts to support veterans in areas such as physical and mental rehabilitation, transitioning into civilian employment, housing and food needs, and more. But the top challenge for veterans, according to recent surveys, is knowing exactly where to go for assistance with particular issues. So providing a comprehensive resource like the 130+ page NC Vets Resource Guide is helping speed matching veteran needs to the best resources.

Ilario, in addition to reminding us that each person’s contribution to this effort, even in saving a single life, is so valuable, provided a 5 point outline for how NC Serves and the IVMF.
Build a community effort to coordinate services
Sustain by continually enlisting support from public and private stakeholders
Partnering which expands the impact of each individual effort
Pioneer by evolving into the broadest set of state and local support services
Transform by enhancing the technological support mechanisms to effectively serve more people most effectively.

It is great to see a community come together and work to share across various initiatives instead of remaining siloed. This is a great example of how networking and team work can make all parties involved more effective. I am proud to be a part of this effort.