Today, on September 10, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day.
Personally, I've considered destruction since i have was four and my mother explained how my dad had passed away. The thing is, ironically, my father had lost his life during the same month that people universally strive to prevent suicides. When i got older, it became painfully clear that I was subject to exactly the same mental illness that my dad was rumored to have. In that spirit, I struggled for nearly 2 decades with similar inner demons I can only imagine echoed within the mind of my dad. After my third make an effort to take my own life, I finally received the assistance I desperately needed in order to save my entire life.
I share my story to end the stigma.
Suicide does not discriminate against any single group. It can affect anyone regardless of age, gender, race, or background. My father's mental illness was rumored but never diagnosed. Suicide is very often the result of untreated mental illness or mental health condition.
While suicidal thoughts aren't uncommon, they are not necessarily normal. They often indicate more serious problems. It can be incredibly scary to listen to someone we love have thoughts of suicide. It can be much more disheartening to suffer alone with your personal thoughts of quitting or otherwise wanting to continue with your life. It's important to take these thoughts seriously. Because the adage goes, suicide is really a permanent solution to (often) temporary problems.
The CDC states that suicide rates have raised by 30% since 1999. We lost nearly 45,000 resides in the US to suicide in 2020. Thoughts of suicide often begin as suicidal ideation, for example “Nothing will ever change” or “I don't wish to wake up anymore.” After someone ends their life through suicide, survivors remain grappling with pain, stigma, and an wherewithal to understand.
While today is World Suicide Prevention Day, September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month too.
The warning signs vary, but may include:
- (increased) alcohol and drug use
- aggressive behavior
- social withdrawal
- mood swings
- impulsive or reckless behavior
Remember: suicidal indicators are serious, but suicidal behaviors are a medical emergency.
According to NAMI (National Alliance On Mental Illness), if you or a family member starts to take these steps, seek immediate help or call 911:
- collecting and saving pills
- buying a weapon
- giving away possessions
- tying up loose ends, like organizing personal papers or paying down debts
- saying goodbye to friends and family
Moreover, while suicide may feel as if it comes down out of nowhere, nearly 50% of victims were built with a known mental health condition.
However, not every sufferers of mental illnesses will attempt suicide. Hence, there are additional risks:
- family good reputation for suicide,
- substance abuse; drugs can exacerbate mental ups and downs, which can worsen thoughts of suicide,
- inebriation; a shocking 1 in 3 people who die from suicide are under the influence of alcohol,
- access to firearms,
- serious or chronic medical illness,
- gender; while no gender is safe out of this horrible occurrence, men're a lot more than 4x more prone to die by suicide,
- history of trauma or abuse,
- prolonged stress,
- recent tragedy or loss.
Seeing these disturbing signs can be very overwhelming. Moreover, talking can be even more difficult. Check out NAMI's September 2020 blog for discussing suicide with someone.
Crisis resources are key! Call 911 immediately if you suspect an emergency. Call the National Suicide Hotline if you're in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts: 1-800-273 TALK (8255). Furthermore, some of us have notorious phone anxiety, and that's why there's an excellent texting feature. Text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor around the Crisis Text Line.
Suicide prevention must be discussed year-round, but September supplies a devoted space to shine an easy around the darkness. Helping take away the stigma of suicide can help to save countless lives. I have experienced bleak, hopeless moments so I'm here to let you know that you can heal and thrive. There is hope.