It’s a subject no one wants to approach. Why? It’s too final… too disturbing…too somehow “unreal”. Yet, everyday someone is saying to his or herself, “I just can’t go on. It is just too overwhelming!”
It is real to them, but probably not to those around them. How could they do such a thing? How could they even think such a thing?
When a high-profile person with everything to live for, such as Anthony Bourdain, commits suicide, the news media gives out briefly a phone number (listed in this title) and begs the watcher to call “if you feel that you are having dark thoughts.” This is good advice, but reaching out for help is usually before a person gets to the place of extremely dark thoughts which leads to irrational thoughts.
Mental health and how to deal with depression as well as other problems needs to be readily available and taught by parents, schools, churches and other institutions. The afflicted person needs to see the possibility of a light at the end of the tunnel. Mostly, they have to be given HOPE and support.
So often those who don’t think there is a light or can’t see there will be something better waiting for them just around the corner need intervention before it is too late. Families who suspect dark thoughts have to reach out. Parents may think that their teenagers are “just going through a growing up stage.” All phases of mental anguish should be taken seriously. When you see a problem, give the person the opportunity to talk and know there is help and most of all… that they are loved by you and by God.
Conversations and questions cannot be too late. According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, these are some of the statistics that we would rather not think about…but should!
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Almost 45,000 Americans die of suicide each year
- Men die by suicide 3.53x more often than women.
- On average, there are 123 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2016….highest in middle-aged white men
Mental illness and depression can hit all people regardless of age or skin color. We all know this is true and that statistics will not fix the problem.
- Based on the 2015 Youth Risk Behaviors Survey, 8.6 percent of youth in grades 9-12 reported that they had made at least one suicide attempt in the past 12 months.
- Girls attempted twice as often as boys (11.6% vs. 5.5%) and teens of Hispanic origin reported the highest rate of attempt (11.3%), especially Hispanic females (15.1%) when compared with white students (6.8%) and White females (9.8%)
- Approximately 2.8 percent reported making a suicide attempt that required treatment by a doctor or nurse.
What are the warning signs of someone who may be suicidal?
- Talking about suicide, hurting themselves, death, or dying
- Seeking access to firearms or pills
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Having severe mood swings
- Feeling hopeless or trapped
- Increased use of alcohol or drugs
- Sleeping all the time or having issues with sleep
- Uncontrolled rage or agitation
- Self-destructive and risky behavior
- Giving away personal belongings
- Telling people goodbye for seemingly no reason
People who suffer from a mental illness, alcoholism or drug abuse, a family history of suicide, history of trauma or abuse, terminal illness, chronic pain, social isolation, or a traumatic life event such as loss of a loved one may be at an increased risk for suicide (credit: Jenae Sitzes)
There is help for you or someone you know. Believing in the LIGHT at the end of the tunnel is God’s way of showing you that He has something good for you!
God has a plan for your life. Reach out for the help you need!