September 10th is National Suicide Prevention Day.
It’s a word and a topic that many choose to ignore.
And I understand. Suicide is complicated. It’s often secretive. It may even be a bit scary. It is a difficult topic to discuss.
Which is exactly why I am going to talk about it.The Facts
Note: I got my facts through AFSP, The Trevor Project, SAVE, the WHO and the CDC (which is where most of the others got some of their statistics from)
Let’s start with some cold, hard, and honestly quite heart-wrenching facts.
Suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in all ages in the United States in 2013.
Let’s break that down by ages a bit:
It is the fourth leading cause of death in individuals ages 18-65 It is the SECOND leading cause of death in individuals ages 15-24, being surpassed only by accidents or unintentional injuries
Let’s get a little broader at look at the world.
Worldwide, 800,000 people die from suicide every year. It is the third leading cause of death worldwide for individuals ages 15-44.
In the time it takes you to watch a thirty minute TV show, 45 people will die by suicide throughout the world, 1 every 40 seconds.
National Suicide Prevention Week
Every year, the organization To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA) develops a campaign of sorts with a specific saying for National Suicide Prevention Week. This year, the idea is “We’ll See You Tomorrow”. It’s a kind of reminder that tomorrow can be different and tomorrow is worth living for (find out more about NSPW here and TWLOHA in general here)
I thought, in honor of that, I would share some of mine (including the one that I wrote on the card that came with my suicide prevention week pack).
You’ll see me tomorrow because…
I am stronger than anything that tries to pull me down
I have a story to share
There are people who look up to me
What can we do?
Our society has become increasingly cold (the best word I could come across to describe it). We lack empathy. Technology especially desensitizes us and dulls our ability to relate to others. In order to help others, we need to be able to understand them and their emotions (I guess the expression ‘walk a mile in their shoes’ would fit here). Understanding the emotions of others can make it easier for us to reach out to them when they need it most.
Be in the Know
Know the signs and risk factors for suicide. If you notice a friend or family member is acting in a way that seems like they may be depressed or suicidal, reach out them. Of course, don’t necessarily assume that the person is suicidal, but be sure to let them know that you are there for them.
Care for Your Own Mental Health
No one is immune to mental illness. Be sure to take care of yourself. If you are feeling suicidal, there is hope and there is help (there are multiple suicide hotlines and even an online crisis network that you can access here)
Have a Support System
This kind of goes with my previous point. Having a support system, even if it is only one person, that you can reach out to and lean on is an important part of being mentally healthy.
Remember: You are NOT alone