By Grace Carroll
September is Suicide Prevention Month. The purpose of this article is to both educate on this subject and enable those who are experiencing suicidal thoughts to speak out. Readers feeling uncomfortable with this topic and unable to continue should put themselves first and discontinue reading. Resources will be listed below.
What is suicide?
In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth ages 15 to 24.
Some deal with mental health issues that cause them to feel so incredibly hopeless, that they feel this is a last resort.
For many, there are a number of different emotions attached to the word “suicide”. Whether they have struggled with suicidal thoughts themselves or have lost or almost lost a loved one to suicide, it’s important to know that as much as some may joke, this topic is still heartbreaking and that it happens every day.
Thousands of people struggle with different mental health issues including depression, and for many, trying to find motivation is undeniably difficult. But that doesn’t mean they should stop where they are. In the words of Maya Angelou, “No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.”
Remember: this is your first time being a person, and your first time being yourself. Just like everyone else! Give yourself some grace. Having suicidal thoughts is nothing to be ashamed of.
What if I, or someone I know, is struggling with suicidal thoughts?
When talking to someone you worry may have suicidal thoughts, leave your judgment at the door. It takes a lot of courage to speak up about your own mental health issues. Some feel like they would be a burden simply by just speaking up about how they feel. Leaving judgment out of the interaction creates a safer environment that enables both you and anyone else to get the proper help that they need.
Sometimes those with suicidal thoughts don’t need someone else to shoulder the hurt they are facing. On some occasions, they might be keeping these difficult feelings and emotions pent up instead of working through them. In these situations, they need a good listener.
It is the job of both students and educators to look out for each other, though it sometimes will feel like a struggle to try and comfort others with all that you have going on or if you simply don’t know how. That’s okay! It is not your responsibility to specialize in peer support. Here are a couple of things you can do beyond listening and providing comfort.
- Refer them to a counselor or a trusted teacher
- Encourage them to seek help from their primary care doctor or if possible their parent/guardian
- Contact the National Health Services mental health line
If you feel like you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, there are plenty of things people will say that will not help them in their current mental state. Like “drink some water” or “try breathing exercises and meditation.” That may have helped some people, but one solution cannot apply to many different problems.
Here are some important questions to remember.
- “I feel alone right now, but is this feeling long-term or temporary?”
- “What do I need right now?”
- “Who is the correct person to go to while I am in this state?”
- “What is the source of the spiral of emotions I’m experiencing?”
When you fear that someone you love might be thinking of committing suicide, you need to report it. You might be thinking about how reporting this might affect your relationship with the person. The truth is, you need to ask yourself one question: “Would I rather have a damaged relationship with this person? Or would I rather they be harmed?”. Reporting someone for thoughts of suicide and plans to act on those thoughts can often lead to many outcomes that can include but are not limited to:
- Inpatient and outpatient therapy
- Prescribed medication
- Frequent doctors visits
Most importantly, this month is just like every other. Whether it is September or not, suicide awareness and prevention is always important to discuss. Suicide happens to people of all ages. Sometimes it occurs when it is least expected. Below are resources you can use if you are feeling suicidal or are concerned for a loved one.
With the help of educators, friends, and family, you can start the conversation today.
Call or text 988
Chat at 988lifeline.org
Text “HELLO” to 741741
Child Protective Services of Davie County
Ashley King | A – Don firstname.lastname@example.org
Erin Brown | Doo-Kin email@example.com
CJ Sheppard | Kio-Ric firstname.lastname@example.org
Gina Hayes | Rid – Z email@example.com
A Different Perspective
The following are some insightful quotes from popular artists today and their wisdom on suicide and suicide prevention.
“No matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow.” – Maya Angelou
“When you feel like giving up, just remember the reason why you held on for so long” – Hayley Williams
“Sometimes even to live is an act of courage” – Lucius Annaeus Seneca
“Soak up the views. Take in the bad weather and the good weather. You are not the storm.” – Matt Haig
“I am very glad I lived through some hard days so that I could have this one.” – John Green
“For all the air that’s in your lungs, for all the joy that is to come, for all the things that you’re alive to feel just let the pain remind you hearts can heal.” – “Hate to See Your Heart Break” by Paramore
“If you were born with the weakness to fall, you were born with the strength to rise.” – Rupi Kaur