Suicide Prevention is Everyone's Job
August 25, 2014
In light of the recent passing of the beloved actor and comedian Robin Williams, I thought I would talk about something really important: suicide prevention. September is National Suicide Prevention Month, and September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. It aims to "Raise awareness [that] suicide is preventable; improve education about suicide; spread information about suicide awareness; [and] decrease stigmatization regarding suicide" (everydaymatters.com).
This is something that impacts us all, including teens. Suicide is the third leading cause of deaths for children, adolescents, and young adults between the ages of 10-24. Even more people than that attempt suicide or suffer from suicidal thoughts. Studies show the LGBTQ community may be twice as likely to commit suicide. The causes of suicide stem primarily from mental illness and abuse, while the true causes are not all known. It can be treated, but sometimes people don't seek the help they need because they fear the reaction of their friends and peers, or even their family.
If you or someone you know is suffering from these types of thoughts or behaviors, here are some things you can do:
- Call the Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-8255)
- Text the Crisis Text Line (Text LISTEN to 741-741)
- Phone or text a friend or loved one
- Listen to (happy) music - studies show music can improve our mood
- Exercise - it releases a chemical called dopamine that makes you feel good and gives you self-confidence (some call it the "happy hormone")
- Talk to your doctor - medication and therapy (group or individual) are the most traditional, and most effective long term solutions to finding balance for mood disorders typically associated with these types of thoughts
- Talk to your spiritual advisor - putting your faith in a higher power can help alleviate stress and help you find comfort
- Create a "toolbox" of happy - when you're depressed, it's hard to think of ways to cheer yourself up; make a list of songs, poems, videos, YouTube shorts, jokes, anything that makes you smile and can refer to in your darker times
- Meditate - calming your mind is always a good thing
- Talk to your family or loved ones - share your symptoms so that other people can be looking out for you as well; don't feel that you need to carry the entire burden alone
If you have a friend or loved one who is talking about suicide, it is a warning! Don't laugh it off, take it seriously! Tell an adult or someone who can help if you see some of these signs:
- Someone threatening to hurt or kill him/herself (or others)
- Looking for access to a way to hurt him/herself
- Uncontrolled emotion (hopelessness, rage, feeling trapped, acting recklessly)
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and social activity
- Change in sleeping patterns, mood changes, increased anxiety and easily agitated
- Feeling like life has no purpose
These can all signify a serious problem. Don't wait until it's too late. Talk to your loved ones about what is going on. Talking can help provide relief for them, as many feel their thoughts are shameful and no one will understand. Remember that for many of these people, their thought processes are skewed. Someone or something - even a chemical imbalance in their brain - has made them feel like dying is a better option. It may take some time and a lot of patience to convince them that they are worthy, loved human beings...but we all know that it's the truth.
Here are some websites to visit for more information:
- CrisisTextLine.org - Resources
- Hazelden Teen Suicide Prevention
- Centers for Disease Control - Youth Suicide Prevention
- Teen Depression HelpGuide
- Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
- End Teen Suicide - Prevention Guide
Here are some websites to visit for those who are struggling and looking for answers, community, and a place to find strength:
- To Write Love On Her Arms
- End Teen Suicide
- Teen Line (310) 855-4673 or Text TEEN to 839863
- The Trevor Project for LGBTQ youth (866) 488-7386 [24/7] or Text TREVOR to (202) 304-1200 [Fri.3-7 pm]
If you are being abused, please contact the Department of Family Services in your area or call 1-800-4-A-CHILD. You can also contact SafeHome by calling (888) 290-7233, or texting "safe" to 69866 with your location.
To follow World Suicide Prevention Day on social media, visit the official Facebook page. You can also track #NoOneElse14 and #WSPD. Remember, you are not alone.
South Independence Branch