South Carolina Ranked 10th Worst Suicide Rate Percentage Increase (1999-20016) in CDC Study Release

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The Center for Disease Control has analyzed suicide rates from 1999-2016 and looked at increases by state as part of their analysis report.? South Carolina has come in as the 10th worst state in the United States with an increase of 38.3%.? That’s well above the national average (25.4%) and more than three times as high as the?12.7 percent uptick in neighboring North Carolina and more than twice as high as the?16.2 percent increase in Georgia.

The United States national average for this period is 25.4% increase.

Here is how the worst 10 ranked in incidences of suicide (Percentage change)

  1. North Dakota – 57.6% increase
  2. Vermont – 48.6% increase
  3. New Hampshire – 48.3% increase
  4. Utah – 46.5% increase
  5. Kansas – 45.0% increase
  6. South Dakota – 44.5% increase
  7. Idaho – 43.2% increase
  8. Minnesota – 40.6%
  9. Wyoming – 39.0%
  10. South Carolina – 38.3%

South Carolina Breakdown

  • Overall rate change – +4.9
  • Overall rate change ranking – 17
  • Overall percentage change – 38.3%
  • Overall percentage change ranking (worst to best) – 10
  • Male Average – 24.13 per 100,000 annually
  • Female Average – 6.3 per 100,000 annually
  • Worst period – 2014-2016

Other Important Facts

  • Suicide rates went up more than 30% in half of states since 1999
  • Nearly 45,000 lives lost to suicide in 2016
  • More than half of people who died by suicide did not have a known mental health condition

Know the 12 Suicide Warnings

  • Feeling like a burden
  • Being isolated
  • Increased anxiety
  • Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Increased substance use
  • Looking for a way to access lethal means
  • Increased anger or rage
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Expressing hopelessness
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Talking or posting about wanting to die
  • Making plans for suicide

Complete study

CDC Suidice Report By State 1999-2016

Suicide Isn’t Painless – Original Poem

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By Mark A. Leon

I just saw a good man die
A victim of a warm against love
Compassionate soul in a desensitized world
His blood spilled on a dying planet
One last effort to feed the roots of humanity

A witness to genocide
A product of the machine
Villages pillaged; families destroyed; lives forever changed

He honored the code, but lived with the guilt
Every minute, every hour, every day

Trained to kill; raised to heal
Yearning for a home

Blocking the only cure to his disease with an unbreakable wall surrounding his soul

Alone, he searched for answers

I saw a good man die
Self-inflicted by his own pain

Counting the seconds as sand crystals feel down the narrow hole of the hourglass
Silently pleading for a community to call his own

Waiting for that call that would come too late

Cries internalized
A soldier never shares
Freedom at any cost; never hesitate
Guarded he remained

His heart, a fragile rose
Encased in a wall of glass

Afraid to live, he chose death
A final act of valor
Leaving behind so many unanswered prayers
With one sunset, this spring became a winter

Cold and dark
The fire extinguished
It is snowing now

Each flake, a story of remembrance
Each picture, a glimmer of a smile

With one final toast, we say goodbye and remember forever
The curtain falls on a good man

Choose Life: The Implications of Suicide

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There is no reason to go on with life.

We transition from innocence in youth to a world overrun by fear and tragedy.
We embrace the media’s attempt to exploit misery and death to numb the pain we feel for our own lives.

Throughout life, we are tossed cliche after cliche dictating how “life is hard”, “it helps us grow stronger”, “we have to suffer to find greater success” but why do we have to suffer to find happiness? After all, we have but one life and a short time period to live it. Even during that duration, we all run the risk of disease, disability, and with only a brief moment in time, the risk of instantaneous death. That is too much for any intelligent person to bear. We are cursed and blessed all at the moment of creation. We are born into the most intelligent species with intellect and emotion rolled into our developing brain.

Is this a curse because as we learn and grow, we question life, death, religion and faith in a higher power? Mortality is a wonderful and mysterious idea. It blesses us with the gift of life showering us with beauty, love, tranquility and peace but also gives the power to destroy and corrupts us with temptation, greed, gluttony and other sinful acts of emotional and physical aggression.

We find ourselves back at the center of a neutral debate.

Often when put on the brink of determining life or death, it is an action that prompts this internal debate. It can be losing a loved one, experiencing a catastrophic event, learning of an illness, or finding yourself at a low point in your life. It is then that simplicity rears its head and provides an easy way out. Whether there is an afterlife or not, it is the easy solution. For me…only.

The curse of intellect is that all of us bear the pain of the death of others while the soul less body lay at peace while we all morn. That doesn’t seem fair, so in a way, suicide is a very selfish solution.

That certainly adds another factor to this decision. Do I understand the reprecussions this will have on others who are a part of my life, or do I just not care given that I will be void of life and all the emotional pain attached to it.

In fairness to myself and others, have I looked at all the other possibilities?

Of course not, since life is an unpredictable act of chance. We are given certain pawns (money, social status, jobs, friends, family) that helps shape our decisions, but clearly an impossibility to deny the possibility of life improving as we move toward the future.

There we go, over-thinking a life altering decision. Just as I consciously talked about the human mind, I am verbally questioning the entire thought of suicide. In a jury, a decision must be unanimous, why shouldn’t be use that calculated logic toward a decision like this? That is an excellent thought, but the difference between a jury and a suicide is that I determine my future and the action I will take to achieve that end. Maybe I need to talk this through to people I trust so that all options are weighed. Clearly, anyone that cares about me will say “don’t kill yourself”. Hopefully, all will. That certainly cannot help but it does open the door of debate.

I have no intention of committing suicide, nor has the thought even breached my mind, but I like millions throughout the world suffer from depression, loneliness, sorrow, poverty, illness and feelings of isolation. The truth is, we need that in our lives. The complexity of the human mind is developed by the range of emotions that create a melting pot. It is this melting pot that creates the unconscious feelings we address every day. Whether it is our dreams, love at first site, deep sorrow for a loss, exhilaration from winning a race, the joy of seeing a loved one who was gone for a long time, or the peace you find in a sunset over the ocean blue, we need all of the collective energy of our thoughts to give us the pure euphoria that is life.

This letter is not reaching out to just those that have thought about the easy way out, but to those that may think about it in the future. In a way, this is not an attempt to talk you out of it, but to bring awareness to the completeness of such a decision. When you think about the gift of life, create a mental bag and put everything in it that is truly important to you. Include the good and bad because without bad, you wouldn’t know good. You will be surprised how heavy that bag is.

When you think there is such a burden on you that you cannot move forward, understand that the burden is everything that encompasses your life, darkness, light, loneliness, together, sadness and happiness.

Think twice….Choose Life

Local US Army Veteran succumbs to PTSD: loses Life, but leave a legacy of love behind

By Brian Vosicky
About a year and a half ago, I wrote an article for the Island Packet about my personal experiences with PTSD and how the USCB Sand Sharks Veterans club helped unite fellow servicemembers who may be struggling to cope with civilian life.? I spoke about the deepest wounds being unseen and that many people aren’t fully aware of the severity of the problem until it is too late to act.


On March 31st, Nick Becker – US Army combat veteran, USCB student, SSV member, and my friend – tragically succumbed to his hidden wounds and took his own life. ?


Nick was loved tremendously by all who knew him.? Known best for his witty sense of humor and Chesire-cat grin, he was always a bright light in the room.? People would naturally gravitate towards his magnetic charm.? He was incredibly intelligent, compassionate, fearless and had a true warrior spirit.


Nick was one of the first friends I made at USCB.? Despite the style and class I may exude in my writing, I do not always seem as approachable in person – Nick saw right through my grizzled demeanor from the beginning.? There’s an old saying that war veterans can recognize the “thousand-yard stare” in the eyes of a fellow vet, so perhaps he saw that I was struggling, too. ?


We bonded while exchanging a few war stories, often making light of sometimes darker subject matter.? It was cathartic for both of us to share our toughest experiences with each other, knowing that we were safe to fully express what we were going through without a fear of social repercussions.? It helped me a lot – I wish I could have helped him even more. ?


While I had no problem committing to SSV community outreach efforts on my own, it was always an added bonus to discover that Nick was going to attend the event as well.? There was never a dull moment with him around.? Even while picking up trash after festivals in Old Town Bluffton, Becker would always manage to find some cold brews for the group to enjoy.? He was always a people-pleaser who was never afraid to roll up his sleeves. ?


Above all else, I truly admired his moral character.? He was a fellow proponent for the sciences, secular humanism, skepticism, globalism, liberty, and justice.? Like me, he despised hypocrisy, so he always made sure to practice what he preached. ?


He was a friend to all and a protector of the weak.? While we shared many similar views on politics, religion, philosophy, business, and ethics, I most enjoyed when we were at odds.? His sharp intellect, vast knowledge, and life experiences often challenged my most stringent beliefs.? I will truly miss having that challenge.?


I urge all of you to keep fighting for the ones who have already fought for all of us.? When the troops come home and the media coverage fades, the war isn’t over – not for everyone.? Stay vigilant to veteran organizations, donate, volunteer, write to your legislators, and keep reaching out to those you suspect might be suffering in silence.? No one should ever have to feel like they are going through this alone.


“My parting words to all of you is to have a sense of humor, the world is a funny place.” -Nick Becker


Brian Vosicky is a Marine Corps veteran who served in the Middle East, Europe and Africa. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina Beaufort. Email him at?