Suicide, an issue our western society deals with a lot, has grown exponentially in the past few decades. In the last 45 years the suicide rate has increased 60 percent worldwide and is now within the top three causes of death from ages 15-44, while being the second leading cause of death in US teenagers. It is a truly heart-wrenching thing afflicting our world today, that someone would want to take their own life, but it happens, much too often. With certain changes in our society, I believe we can start to lower the suicide rates, one life at a time.
Suicidal tendencies can be influenced by many things. Technically speaking, there are no causes of suicide; no x=y. Rather there are a multitude of risk factors. Some contributing risks include general feelings of hopelessness or loneliness, psychiatric disorders such as depression, substance abuse problems, have experienced a stressful event, have a family history of psychiatric disorders or abuse, and having medical conditions. In youth, risk factors include physical or medical problems, psychiatric disorders, the loss of someone close, stressful life events, history of a abuse, being bullied, confusion over sexual orientation, and even hearing too much about suicide.
The youth suicide rate has nearly doubled since the 1970s, and while the mortality rate for teenagers has gone down, the percentage of deaths by suicide has gone up. Of course, those statistics aren’t including attempted suicides, in which there are more of. For every suicide there are 25 attempts. 25 times as many people that die try to die. 25! Sadly the number of completed suicides have risen as the methods have changed, as suffocation has become more frequent. To help limit suicides, it may help to be watchful for signs-
The top Signs of suicidality
- Excessive sadness or moodiness– mood swings or lasting negative emotions
- Hopelessness– feeling that there is no hope left
- Sudden calmness– the calm before the storm may mark someone’s decision to die
- Withdrawal– avoiding social interaction, no longer enjoying things they once liked
- Changes in personality or appearance– might show an attitude change or stop caring about appearance
- Dangerous behavior– inclined to engage in reckless behavior can show that a person no longer values their life
- Recent trauma– stressful or painful events can put someone over the edge
- Making preparations– trying to out their personal business in order
- Threatening suicide-50-75% of people considering suicide will give someone close to them a warning
- Change in eating or sleeping habits-specifically in teenagers
If you are worried someone may be having suicidal thoughts, these are some actions you can take
- Talk to them-express your concern. Allow them to vent if need be, as letting things go is very beneficial when someone is in despair. Offer them hope and reassurance .
- Tell someone- if you think someone you know may be suicidal and you don’t know what to do, tell an adult, especially a school counselor (contact info for Megan Coggins below)
- Reach out- often times those considering suicide believe that they are alone, so put out the extra effort to keep in touch with and be there for someone (note- this is more than just saying you are available- YOU reach out to THEM)
- In SEVERE cases; take them to a hospital and remove any potentially lethal objects. Do NOT leave a suicidal person alone.
If you are feeling hopeless there are people to talk to, people who care about you.
Crisis text line-TEXT “HOME” TO 741741
ACA school counselor Megan Coggins- firstname.lastname@example.org
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