Kate Spade, then Anthony Bourdain. With the recent deaths by suicide of these well known people and the recent CDC report on the rise of death by suicide in the nation, suicide prevention had moved to a top story in media this summer. According to the CDC, there are 25 states that have had an increase of suicides of over 30% from 1999-2016. Suicide rose to the number ten position as “cause of death”. What is happening?
What is happening that people feel, think, believe that the only way to stop the insurmountable in their life is to stop living? The depth of pain, hopelessness, overwhelmed-ness, sadness - you name the feeling - is tragic and for some unimaginable. You don’t have to understand the pain to be able to help. You also don’t need to be a mental health professional to make a difference. Here are some ways you can help make a difference:
#1 Know the common warning signs
#2 Promote the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Call 1-800-273-8255 or chat online.
If you’re concerned about a friend, or yourself, call the Lifeline and they will walk you through how to help your friend, or yourself.
#3 Encourage people to “just ask’
If someone you know seems down or hopeless, and you’re worried about their safety, ask them if they’re thinking about hurting or killing themselves.
I am thankful to those who have stepped outside their comfort zone to reach out to someone in what can be an alarming and frightening situation to provide support and compassion. For the person helping it can feel risky - what if the person says they do want to hurt themselves, or end their life? What do I do? It can range from simply being with the person to calling 911. You can call, or help the person call the National Suicide Life Line. But first, you have to be there and then you have to ask. Hopefully the person gets the help they need and is able to set a course for a more livable life.
Please, PLEASE, if you think someone may be at risk “just ask” them. Experts agree that asking won’t give someone the idea or cause/increase the chance they will become suicidal. The reality is they probably have already considered it.
Do what you can to help them; but also know that you may do all you know to do and still not prevent it. Some people that suicide don’t show warning signs and they don’t fit the profile. This is complicated and hard. They end their lives and take themselves from their friends, family, the world. The loss of the individual’s life is tragic and so is the grief of those that survive the suicided.
Having said that, what happens to those who remain? I’ll share more in the next few blogs. I can share what happens, or at least what happens from my experience because – I’m a suicide survivor. I lost my brother who suicided 10 years ago.
LifEdvice was created to support us as we are all learning to live life well - even when living seems like the problem rather than the prize.