By: Kiara Haynes
Just incase you didn’t know, September was suicide awareness month. Now, I know that this is an uncomfortable topic that many don’t talk about, but that is exactly the reason why we have a suicide awareness month. Because suicide is so stigmatized and considered a taboo topic people don’t really talk about it. Due to this lack of conversation it leaves those that are struggling to feel alone and isolated which is one of the reasons why so many people don't get help. So it’s a good thing that you are here because this is going to be your one stop shop to educate yourself about this issue and learn how to help those around you who might be struggling.
Not only is suicide a very big issue in the U.S but also all over the world. According to SAVE.org, an organization dedicated to educating and bringing awareness to suicide, a death by suicide happens every 11 minutes here in the U.S. World wide there are about 800,000 deaths by suicide which is 1 death every 40 seconds. Thats hundreds of thousands of people dying every year due to suicide. Furthermore, when you think about It it’s understandable why this is such a big issue because there is no easy medical treatment that you can take to cure it. There is no list of things to avoid to combat against it. The cause of suicide is quite simply life. It can be caused by simply going through a tough time and feeling like you have no support and no way of getting out of your situation. And if you have a mental illness this can make the issue even worse. Depression is a huge contributing factor to suicide. Depression effects 20-25% of U.S citizens over the age of 18. That's one fourth of the population. With the symptoms of having no motivation, a constant sluggish and tired feeling, having a loss of joy in what you usually do, etc…, this can very easily lead to someone attempting suicide.
However, its important to remember that you do not have to suffer from a mental illness to feel suicidal. As I mentioned earlier just going through a tough time can bring on thoughts of suicide. Some common warning signs are feeling a lack of social support and sense of isolation, going through a recent loss of a job or a relationship, having a history of trauma or abuse, feeling hopeless or lost and the list goes on and on...literally. Just on the SAVE website alone there is a list of 20+ warning signs of suicide. So how do we combat this issue? How can you help yourself or anyone you know who might be feeling suicidal?
Often people think that there is nothing they can do to help someone whose feeling suicidal, or they fear that by bringing it up they will push the person even more to go follow through with an attempt. But what if I told you that that isn’t true. In reality it is actually this kind of thought process that can actually lead to more people attempting suicide. Talking and leaning on others is the best way to help someone who is feeling suicidal. It’s also important to start a dialogue. Most of the time when someone is considering suicide they are feeling isolated and alone. Even if the person doesn’t open up and talk about it, someone just simply asking about it and checking in on them can remind them that people care. Some questions that you can use to start the conversation are:
Do you feel ever so bad that you think about suicide?
Do you have a plan to take your life?
Have you thought about how or when you would do it?
And if you are struggling yourself the best thing that you can do is to reach out for help. I know that this is a lot easier said than done but you’d be surprised how much better you can feel just from talking to someone. It doesn’t even have to be someone you know. There are many hotlines you can call to receive help and someone to talk to. Some popular ones are the suicide prevention hotline (800-273-8255) and the trevor lifeline (1-866-488-7386) specifically for those in the LGBTQ+ community.
In conclusion, If there's one thing that you should take away from this article its that the best way to combat suicide is to help eachother. We have to move past and ultimately get rid of the stigma that surrounds suicide. It does nothing but compound the issue and cause more lives to be lost. This suidice awareness month remember that compassion is the key to combat and the only way to get through it is together.