by Michelle B.
There are over 38,000 suicides in the United Stated every year. That’s over 105 people taking their own life each and every day. Suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death for Americans, and the 3rd leading cause of death in young people, ages 15-24. This has truly become an epidemic.
Many of us have been affected by suicide. So why do we find it so difficult to talk about suicide and seek help?
Talking About Suicide
To end the stigma and taboos about suicide, we need to talk about it. If we continue to keep suicide a secret or think of it as a weakness, then we will never be able to have a suicide-free community.
We also need to change the conversation about suicide. 90% of people who die by suicide have a diagnosable and treatable mental health disorder, such as depression, bipolar, or PTSD. Our health care system is changing to include behavioral health with physical health. This is good news! However, we still have a long way to go. The brain is a part of our physical body and should be given the attention it deserves.
Suicide is not committed.
One simple way of changing the conversation is to quit using the phrase, “commit suicide”. Commit has a very negative connotation. When I think of committing suicide, I think of someone committing a crime. People who take their own life are not committing a crime. Most of the time they are trying to cope with some type of mental health condition. We would not say someone committed cancer or committed a heart attack, would we?
Suicide is an illness.
People who are thinking about suicide are often looking for hope and to not feel like a burden to others. We all can provide hope to one another. Helping someone in emotional distress is the same as helping someone experiencing physical distress. If the person next to you stopped breathing, what would you do? If the person next to you was crying, upset and saying their life isn’t worth living, what would you do?
Suicide is preventable.
Everyone can play a role in suicide prevention. Here are some suggestions:
- Know the warning signs of suicide
- Know where to find help if you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts
- Attend a training such as QPR, suicideTALK, or ASIST
- Enter 513-281-CARE(2273) in your phone. You never know when you may need this number for yourself or someone else.
- Share 281-CARE’s new texting services with someone. Text “Talbert” to 839863
- Write your Senator or Congressman/woman about the importance of suicide prevention
- Sign up for the Warrior Run on October 12, 2013.
- Join Team Talbert House for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention/Cincinnati Chapter Out of the Darkness Walk on October 20, 2013
- Start an Active Minds chapter at your High School or College
- Join your local suicide prevention coalition or the Tri-State Suicide Prevention Coalition
- Visit the following websites to educate yourself on suicide:
It’s your turn.
Approximately 6 people are intimately affected by each suicide. That means an estimated 4.78 million (1 of every 65 Americans) are survivors of suicides. Reach out today and help change the outcome for these individuals, families, friends, and coworkers.