Suicide Prevention Today
Suicide leaves an earthquake of emptiness rumbling in your heart with no foreseeable horizon of healing.
Memories of Suicide
Many people are effected by suicide, whether it is a family member or a friend.
I have memories of suicide as well. In October 1983, my Uncle Jerry took his own life. My cousins Trish and Doug came home from school to find their Dad laying on the floor and the aftermath of what swallowing a .357 magnum did. Trish was 13 and Doug was 10 at the time.
When I worked in 9-1-1, I had many calls related to suicide. One that stands out is a girl that came home from school in the afternoon, only to find her grandmother had electrocuted herself in a bathtub. Just last year, I read that the world-famous ‘Painter of Light’ Thomas Kinkade ended his life the same way. I thought, “What a shame… all that talent completely wasted.” Later, the Coroners report confirmed that he actually died of an accidental overdose of alcohol and prescription tranquilizers.
I also attended the hospital of a man I worked with who attempted to take his own life after being forced into mandatory early retirement.I suggested he take up a hobby or work some place part-time to be otherwise engaged and contributing. After care is also important in ongoing suicide prevention.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is a preventable public health problem. Suicide still holds around the 10th leading cause of death in the US. We often hear of younger people committing suicide. We also hear of soldiers returning from war that do, but not that all who do are prone to suicide. According to the World Health Organization, a specialized agency of the United Nations, in 2011, Greenland had the highest incidence of suicide. Posted in the New York Times in May 2 , 2013, suicide rates have risen sharply in the US among middle-aged Americans. According to the article, more people now die of suicide than by car accident.
Suicide.org reports that a suicide occurs every 17 minutes. With that sobering thought, you can see why suicide prevention is important.
Reasons for Suicide
The real reason one commits suicide may never be known. Here are some general ideas why:
*feeling hopeless. They falsely believe they have no future, and that belief becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in the taking of their own life.
*overwhelming sense of shame. Full of regrets but empty of forgiveness.
*rejection by peers… bullying, social stigmas, purposely being excluded, or ostracised for being ‘different.’ Watching for signs of bullying is an important part of suicide prevention. Rates of suicide are higher among those who are bullied than those who are not.
*unappreciated. Young people growing up want to know that their opinion matters, that they, too, have a voice in matters, and to know that they are heard. If they don’t, they don’t feel loved… they can feel worthless.
Understanding such reasons can be great tools for suicide prevention.
Watching Out For Signs of Suicide
Here are some questions to keep in mind for suicide prevention:
- Are they verbalizing notions of suicide?
- Are you able to discern the person’s mental state?
- Do they project themselves as hopeless?
- Do you notice any change in the person’s mood?
- Is their behavior “out of character”?
- What is their overall demeanor?
According to Web MD, not everyone considering suicide will reveal their intentions, but as many as 75% will give some warning sign
to a friend or relative. Do your part in suicide prevention: Be an active listener.
Any of the following could pose potential suicide risks factors:
- Changes in attitude and behavior.
- Excessive mood swings, rage, sadness.
- Exhibiting reckless disregard for themselves, such as dangerous driving or unsafe sex.
- Isolating themselves from friends or social activities.
- Less concerned than usual about their appearance.
- Putting their affairs in order, giving away possessions.
- Sleep problems.
Paying attention to these risks aids in suicide prevention.
Here’s the bottom line: Every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
What To Do If You Are Thinking About Suicide
If you’re feeling low, take these things into consideration:
*Make suicide prevention your immediate goal. Treat this as an emergency and get yourself the help you deserve. Call a loved one, a counselor or psychologist, or a suicide hotline (across the US the number is 1-800-SUICIDE or 1-800-273-8255.)
*Get plenty of rest. It’s a known fact that a good sleep provides sharper mental clarity and an abundance of energy.
*Notice when you’re feeling this way. Have a written plan (and keep it handy) outlining what you will do when you have thoughts of hurting yourself. This plan may involve speaking to someone you trust with your feelings, leaving your residence, going to a hospital emergency room or calling 9-1-1.
*Remove things from your home or your environment that can harm you, such as pills, ropes, firearms, or razor blades.
If you are unable to remove these things, at least move them out of immediate reach. Alternately, go to some place where you have no access to them at all.
*Stay connected to others. This will help you understand that you are not alone in what you’re going through. There are plenty of people who are great listeners and can offer you tremendous support.
*Talk to someone. There are many resources to help you cope with your feelings and problems.
**HAVE HOPE. Other people have felt this way and have managed to get through it.
Give yourself the time you need to get through this too. This is a vital suicide prevention technique.
** CHANGE YOUR THINKING. Understand and know that you are in control of your life. You are far better than your circumstances.
Rise above your raising. Professor Richard Alpert said,
“The whole system we live in drills into us that we’re powerless, that we’re weak, that our society is evil, etc. and so forth. It’s all a big fat lie. We are powerful, beautiful and extraordinary. There is no reason we cannot understand who we truly are, where we are going. There is no reason the average individual cannot be fully empowered. We are incredibly powerful beings.“
** REVERSE YOUR THINKING. Realize that there are opportunities to be better and do better.
Feelings are temporary, so change how you feel. Change your focus on things that really matter to you. What things do you take comfort in? Focus on these things. Make a list of everything that is important to you. Ask yourself, “How will my life be better by doing more of what is important to me?“Put all your energy into the things you enjoy in life. Focus on what you wish to accomplish in the future. Your feelings of enjoyment and the things you care about will then be what’s on your mind.
** BE KIND, LOVING and PATIENT with yourself. All progress is a process.
** HELP OTHERS. Helping others activates feelings of generosity and being kind-hearted. Help yourself by helping others.
Wishing you all health, happiness and harmony.
Please share your experiences and thoughts on this topic of suicide prevention. Thank you kindly!