This post has been started and erased several times. I did not want to talk about it. I did not know how to talk about it. Yet the reason why I keep starting over again is because we need to talk about it.
Two years ago our family was affected by suicide.
Suicide is a heavy, uncomfortable topic; uncomfortable for me to write about and likely just as uncomfortable for you to read about. When the news hit our family we were all in shock. How could this happen? How could we not know? What did we not see? What could we have done?
Yes, the experts will say that suicide is preventable. Since this statement puts tremendous guilt on survivors let me add that it is preventable only by the person who is committing the act. Not all cases have noticeable indicators. Yet in cases where there are signs, we must do what we can to help. Most suicidal individuals give warnings of their intentions but loved ones are unaware of their dire nature. When signs of suicidal tendencies are present, even if they are merely a hunch, they simply cannot be ignored.
Today begins National Suicide Prevention Week and tomorrow, September 10th, is World Suicide Prevention Day. Suicide is the eighth leading cause of death among all persons and third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24. If you know someone who is struggling, contact 1-800-273-8255.
Some of the indicators that a friend or loved one might be considering suicide include the following:
• Threats or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
• Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
• Inability to think clearly or make rational decisions
• Rage, uncontrolled anger or discussions of seeking revenge
• Reckless behavior
• Talking about feeling trapped
• Increased alcohol or drug use
• Cutting or hurting ones-self
• A noticeable withdrawal from friends, family and society
• Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
• Dramatic mood changes
• Talking about loved ones being better off without that person
Most people who become suicidal do so because they are unable to see alternatives to their problems. It is important to know that experts say that talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal. Here are some helpful resources if you know someone who you think might be contemplating suicide:
What to do when someone is suicidal: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/suicide/MH00058
How to help someone who may be suicidal: http://be.georgetown.edu/47217.html
My friend is talking about suicide. What should I do? http://kidshealth.org/teen/your_mind/friends/talking_about_suicide.html
What if someone I know needs help? http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/WhatIfSomeoneIKnowNeedsHelp.aspx
At 8:00 pm on September 10th, consider lighting a candle near a window in support of World Suicide Prevention Day, suicide prevention awareness, survivors of suicide and for the memory of loved lost ones.