Recognizing Depression and the Warning Signs of Suicide " Jonathan is a 38-year-old long haul truck driver who feels tired and hopeless "

Case study ( 1444 views as of November 21, 2017 )

Jonathan is a 38-year-old long haul truck driver who has been feeling tired and hopeless for months. He has confessed to an old friend that there are times when he feels like pulling his truck into oncoming traffic or a bridge support and "ending it all". He is approaching the 1-year anniversary of a divorce, and has been working extra contracts to pay for alimony and child support. To stay awake, Jonathan has been using stimulants, and he's been buying sleeping pills on the road to shut his brain off when he gets a chance for a few hours of sleep.

Jonathan needs to see his primary care provider urgently for assessment. If he feels like he is a risk to himself or others, getting him to the emergency department, or even involving the police to get him help may be required. Jonathan has had several losses, is abusing substances, and is having thoughts of ending his life. Situational crisis with depression, hopelessness and suicidal thoughts is a mental health emergency. Medications may be part of what he needs to get better, but counselling, family therapy, addiction support services and other interventions may help Jonathan get back to a better place psychologically.

Once Jonathan has his acute mental health needs under control, he may benefit from incorporating some healthier lifestyle habits into his routine, such as regular physical activity and health eating to support his mental and physical health.

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Conversation based on: Recognizing Depression and the Warning Signs of Suicide " Jonathan is a 38-year-old long haul truck driver who feels tired and hopeless "

Recognizing Depression and the Warning Signs of Suicide " Jonathan is a 38-year-old long haul truck driver who feels tired and hopeless "

  • I think we tend to tie our depressive feelings to situations/hardships that we are going through, and it makes it easier to avoid really dealing with our mental health. If Jonathan has several 'reasons' why he is currently feeling the way he is, like his divorce and financial strain, then it's simple to pass off his feelings as temporary. It sounds to me that his mental health absolutely needs some attention, especially since he has admitted to thoughts of suicide. If I was Jonathan's friend he was confessing to, I would be doing everything possible to bring him to the emergency department or to his family doctor.
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  • Some really good points have been made about the difficulty there can be getting the appropriate help from health services. However, I think it's especially important to recognize that not everyone who goes through depression or has suicidal thoughts even wants to seek out "official" help. Although we don't know where Jonathan stands on seeking professional advice, a good place to start may be to continue talking with the friend he has already confided in. Having a friend there for support may be more comfortable, and may help him eventually make those lifestyle changes.
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    • I agree with Allie in that not everyone who goes through depression or has suicidal thoughts even wants to seek out "official" help, My take is that often people need to take the time to calm down and find a place of calm before they make decisions about seeking professional help for things like Depression and the Warning Signs of Suicide. Certainly if they have had thoughts this way in the past that would bean indicator that professional help might be more valuable.
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  • Mental illnesses are a growing concern in our society and having the means to find support is very important. Sometimes a person who is depressed or having suicidal thoughts is not assisted in the correct capacity. When you read some of the side affects of medications used for depression medication some state suicidal thoughts. How can these medication work if they make people feel this way ?
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    • I agree ShirleyG. Unfortunately it seems like trying regulate the chemicals in the brain that lead to depression is a trial and error process. And people often don't have the level of support and monitoring they need so feelings are enhanced instead of leveled and they feel worse than they did.
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  • I've always heard that the suicide rates are much higher in men. In fact I can think of 6 instances where I have either known a man, or a friend has known a man that has taken his own life. Is there any evidence out there as to why? It seems to be on the increase and is quite worrying.
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    • I think that women are much more likely to take mental illness seriously. To talk to friends, doctors, family about their thoughts. There seems to still be a huge stigma involving men and mental illness that needs to be addressed
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  • I think that the advice to speak to his doctor or other health care professional about his suicidal thoughts is a very good one. However our health care system doesn't seem set up to properly support people with mental health issues
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    • @ShirleyG that's exactly what I meant. There seems to be a real lack of resources for people with mental illnesses like depression
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    • There has been an influx of information in the media surrounding mental health issues, however there needs to be more doctors available to treat patients. It is one thing to say there is help and it is another to have the resources to help.
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    • There does seem to be frequent public health campaigns around the recognition of mental health issues, and the importance in addressing symptoms in people. I would hope these would start to raise more awareness of the warning signs of suicide and depression, and help support our primary care providers in treating those that are suffering.
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