Suicide prevention starts with awareness

Suicide prevention starts with awareness

Suddenly she snapped. The tears stopped flowing and everything seemed so clear, so obvious. Tonight would be the night. Without giving it too much thought, she opened her drawer and grabbed the pills.

Sophomore Arianna Grace* recalled the night regretfully. After the few minutes it took to take them all she laid on the bed. It would be hours before anyone was home, and that should be plenty of time. She woke to her best friend’s finger in her mouth as she screamed for her to try to throw it all up.

If only her friend had noticed how odd she’d been acting before it came to this.

Suicide takes the lives of nearly 40,000 Americans every year, according to (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education), a website dedicated to saving lives through educating the public and making them aware of the problem and signs to look for.  Many who attempt suicide never seek professional care; however, nearly 75 percent of elderly people had visited a physician in the month prior to their suicide attempt.

“I’ve attempted suicide about six times, none of them very successful obviously,” sophomore Garrett Carter* said.

Although evidence shows that generally people do better after seeking help, he doesn’t believe there would have been anything anyone could have done to help him.

He never actually tried to get help. However, he was forced to attend Southwestern, a behavioral health center in Lawton, after one of his attempts.

“There needs to be much more public awareness around suicide — too few of us don’t know how to react when we see someone who may be at risk of taking their life,” a suicide campaigner told the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) news in an interview about the subject.

When in a situation where you fear that someone you care about could be thinking of or planning to harm themselves, Linda Griffith-Lambert, professional counselor at a local mental health center, says it’s very important to make sure they know someone’s there for them. If you believe they’re in immediate danger, it’s wise to call 911 or take them to the ER where they can be evaluated.

Handling a loved one who has recently attempted suicide can be difficult, and people may not know how to handle it.

“Just let them know you’re there for them, and that it’s possible to move on and get past it,” Lambert says. She also says letting them know no one hates them can be extremely helpful. It’s okay if people don’t know how to help tell them that but always reassure them that someone is there anyway.

If someone is thinking about suicide or harming himself/herself it’s wise to talk to an adult or friend the person feels he/she can trust. If the person’s not comfortable with that there is a suicide hotline that’s free for anyone to call 24 hours a day. The number is 1-800-273-8255.

Although risk factors vary with age, gender and ethnicity, some of the common factors among people who attempt suicide are depression and other mental illnesses, substance abuse, family history of suicide, violence including physical, emotional or sexual abuse and exposure to suicidal behaviors from others.

Some of the signs people show closely before their attempt are taking care of personal affairs such as family grudges or simply telling people they love them all the time. Telling people they’ll be happier when they’re gone, mentioning how much they hate life and feel trapped and/or talking about suicide and suicidal thoughts are also signs.

“When someone says they’d like to be dead or that they don’t want to be here anymore it’s a big sign; and you have to take that stuff seriously,”  Lambert said.

Sometimes, people show signs of depression and suicidal thoughts for weeks or even months before they actually attempt or begin truly thinking about it as their only way out.

“I was depressed for years before I began seeing suicide as a way out,” Grace* said. “I used to lay in bed for hours at night just trying to convince myself that I could handle the next day, that I could get out of bed and actually live my life. It went on for weeks until I finally I just snapped. I couldn’t take it anymore.”

To date, Grace* is slowly learning how to handle her problems and channel that negative energy and use it for something positive. Although things are still hard and she does struggle from day to day, she now has an amazing support system and is confident that with time she will be able to overcome this and live a happy and successful life. Carter* is still struggling, but he does have amazing friends and knows he can always count on them for anything.

Although suicide is one of the leading causes of death among the American population, many people who try this way out don’t necessarily plan it, so it can be difficult for family and friends to realize what’s going on in their loved one’s mind. People who attempt suicide also often seem very happy and try to convince everyone that everything is fine, and there is no reason for anyone to worry.

However, suicide is a huge problem and devastates families all over the nation every year.

“Don’t look at someone and think just because they’re happy all the time means they aren’t messed up in the head,” Carter* suggested.

*The above sources wished to remain unknown and were therefore given different names in order to keep their identity private.