Suicide Prevention Week
The International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) estimates that there are about 800,000 suicides worldwide each year.
That number is probably higher considering that shame and harsh judgment can often accompany news of a suicide, making it easier for family and loved ones to shroud a suicide in other ways. This devastating statistic makes one thing very clear – we need to start talking about it in order to stop it.
September 7-13 marks National Suicide Prevention Week and it is the week surrounding World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10. You may be wondering what you can do.
The easiest and maybe best way to be involved is to learn the warning signs of suicide. Many times we see things and say nothing; we’re afraid that maybe we’re wrong and we don’t want someone to feel like we’re intruding. But consider this – what if saying something and intruding a little is the literal difference between life and death? We’d certainly say something if we knew this was the consequence.
There are usually warning signs that happen before someone takes his or her life. These signs can be as subtle as someone being more anxious or depressed than normal. Other times they can be obvious, like when someone outwardly threatens to harm himself. The signs may fall somewhere in the middle. Maybe you notice a friend abusing drugs or alcohol or a friend who’s usually very social hardly engaging with anyone. In any case, these signs aren’t to be taken lightly. Ask questions. You can even ask explicitly, “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”
The important thing is that you do not stay silent. If you are worried that a friend or family member may be considering suicide, the best thing you can do is talk about it. Maybe YOU are the one having these feelings. Do not ignore these feelings and do not be ashamed to have them. There are people and resources that can help you.
If you don’t know what to say or do, call a trained professional who can help you figure it out. You can call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255. If you don’t feel comfortable talking on the phone, you can chat online with a professional at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. Both of these services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Post by Jackie Stinson, Former FLVS Media Specialist