SEPTEMBER IS SUICIDE PREVENTION MONTH.
I always try and ease my way into a subject but there’s no easy way for this topic so I’ll start with a childhood flashback. I remember when I was in the 7th Grade, I had a crush on a neighbor who lived on our street four doors down from our house. David Snyder was 14 years old, a year older than me, smart as heck, blond hair, gorgeous blue eyes, great athlete, and great son - the oldest of five kids. One morning before school, he was found hanging naked from the bathroom shower curtain rack. He had been despondent over his parents divorce blaming himself for their separating. After all these years, I STILL remember David as clearly as if it was yesterday. Imagine losing a family member or close friend this way… how do you recover from the loss?
Suicide is a major public health problem and a leading cause of death in the United States. The effects of suicide go beyond the person who acts to take his or her life: it can have a lasting effect on family, friends, and communities. Suicide is when people direct violence at themselves with the intent to end their lives, and they die because of their actions.
Suicide does not discriminate. People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities can be at risk. This summer we lost several iconic people to suicide: Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade. People close to them kept saying, “I don’t understand what happened... they were so happy!” Oftentimes those we think are the strongest are the ones that need the most help.
People who are suicidal often say or do things that are signals of their intentions. Oftentimes people say or do things are outward cries for help. These warning signs may provide an opportunity to start conversation even if it is difficult. Seriously, how hard it is to take the time to ask—”What’s happening in your life? Are you okay? You want to talk? Even among people who have risk factors for suicide, most do not attempt suicide, however it remains difficult to predict who will act on suicidal thoughts.
If You Know Someone in Crisis: Call the toll-free National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) at 1–800–273–TALK (8255), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The service is available to
everyone. The deaf and hard of hearing can contact the Lifeline via TTY at 1–800–799–4889. All calls are confidential. Contact social media outlets directly if you are concerned about a friend’s social media updates or dial 911 in an emergency. Learn more on the NSPL’s
website. The Crisis Text Line is another resource available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Text “HOME” to 741741.
Unlike the tongue in cheek song, Suicide is NOT painless. It not only takes a life, it leaves behind loved ones who try and pick up the pieces of their now shattered lives.