This week is National Suicide Prevention Week, and as always the Trevor Project is campaigning hard to raise awareness surrounding the issue of teen suicide.
Last year, they ran the Talk To Me campaign, a program that asked people to make themselves available to anyone in their lives who might be at risk. The “Talk to Me” philosophy is still very much key, but the Trevor Project has gone further to make this an actionable campaign with this year’s effort called: “Just One Note.”
Watch the video below:
This issue is somewhat personal. I have never attempted, nor have I ever wanted to take my own life. However, suicidal thoughts have affected someone who is very dear to me. I’m not alone.
The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 1 million people will die every year due to suicide. That’s a ”global” mortality rate of 16 people per 100,000, or one death every 40 seconds. Millions more will be affected by this issue.
Suicide continues to be a health issue that we struggle to talk about because it has a stigma attached to it. People often perceive suicide and suicidal thoughts as selfish and as being motivated by cowardice. This is not true. Suicide is preceded by immense emotional hurt and feelings of hopelessness where the person suffering feels their only option to relieve this pain is to end their own lives. It has nothing to do with shirking responsibility and everything to do with a person feeling so detached and remote from the people around them and the world at large, so absolutely despairing, that they feel suicide is their only choice.
What are the Signs Someone Might be Suicidal?
Signs of suicide may include:
- Talking about suicide
- A preoccupation with death
- Self-loathing, self-hatred
- Feelings of worthlessness, guilt, shame, and self-hatred
- Giving away prized possessions
- Withdrawing from the world
- Self-destructive behavior
Sometimes a person may not show any of these obvious outward signs of depression or anxiety. However, changes in what you consider normal behavior for that person may be a clue.
For more possible indicators of suicidal thoughts, please click here.
How Can You Help Someone You Think Might be Suicidal?
Last year the Trevor Project also released the following fantastic video. While it specifically mentions LGB youth, it has some great advice for everyone:
For ideas of what questions you might ask someone to help ascertain if they’re suicidal, and what to say if you think they are, please click here.
While every person is different and has different needs, there are a few broad pieces of advice health professionals have given for people trying to help potentially suicidal loved ones and friends. They include:
- Getting the person professional help. It is important that anyone who is suicidal receives the professional diagnosis and treatment that they need. Trying to ensure that the person actually follows through with treatment is paramount. Attending health appointments with the at-risk person may be one way of helping ensure they get the treatment they need.
- Don’t wait for them to come to you for help. Suicidal thoughts are often accompanied by feelings of intense loneliness and isolation. For that reason it is unlikely that someone who is suicidal will reach out for help. If you are able to go to that person and ask them what is wrong, perhaps using some of the questions listed here, your pro-active approach could be a step in them getting the help they need.
- Continuing support, not just in the first few weeks, but for as long as is needed. Suicidal thoughts are rarely tackled overnight. What is key is helping someone continue their treatment and supporting them over the weeks, months and even years that follow. As with many mental health issues, there is no quick fix. Offering love and support while listening to the person’s needs will go a long way in helping them as they deal with the issues underpinning their suicidal thoughts.
For further ideas about how to continue to help someone please click here.
Don’t Suffer in Silence, Get Help
For more information on National Suicide Prevention Week, please click here.
The Trevor Project runs a 24/7 helpline with trained counselors ready to listen if you or someone you know would like to talk about the issues dealt with in this post.
The Trevor Project Helpline number is 1-866-4-U-TREVOR (1-866-488-7386).Trevor Project Links:
- Follow the Trevor Project on Facebook
- Follow the Trevor Project on Twitter
- Volunteer for the Trevor Project
To find a suicide helpline outside the U.S., visit Befrienders Worldwide.
Image taken from video under fair use terms, no infringement intended.