Suicide. People need to talk about it and be aware of it, instead of making it something taboo and shameful. People commit suicide. It happens every day. It shocks and devastates people. Every. Single. Day. It can happen to someone in your life: your neighbor, your high school sweetheart, your co-worker, your best friend, your parent, your spouse, YOU. It’s very real. Every single person on this planet who cares about any single human being needs to be aware of suicide.
Knowing the signs can save a life.
Has the thought ever crossed your head? Even for a fleeting second? Then get help. Start somewhere. Start with your best friend, your teacher, your aunt. Thinking about killing yourself is not natural or normal. Not even for a second. If the idea of suicide passes through your mind then you need to acknowledge it. Why? Because you never know when that thought might cross your mind during the right mixture of events. For example, if you’re lonely, depressed and drunk, and that thought crosses your mind, it may stick. I am a grateful survivor. There are other ways out. No matter how low you are and how bad things are, it WILL get better. You DO have the power to get through this. People CARE about you. People LOVE you. They may have trouble showing it, but they do. As a grateful survivor I know this. Words, actions, and a lifetime of devoting my life to suicide prevention awareness, could never express how grateful I am to be alive. Please. If suicide ever, for even a second, crosses your mind, get help.
It’s the responsibility of friends and family members to help. Does your friend or family member seem a little gloomy? Ask them about it. Don’t just ask them, “what’s wrong,” and accept “nothing” as an answer. Ask them questions about their day. Ask about people they care about. Ask about subjects (such as school, a sport, club, or hobby) that they care about. If you can’t get them to open up, at least leave the door open. Make sure they understand that they can talk to you about anything at any time. If your friend or family member show any of the classic signals that they’re thinking about suicide, get professional help, immediately! Even if that means dialing 911. There are many great articles which outline classic signals. Familiarize yourself.
It’s also the responsibility of friends and family members to support friends and family members who confide in you. Please don’t forget: they didn’t confide in you so you could laugh, scoff, chastise, or otherwise make light of their condition. They don’t need you to tell them that they’re wrong and stupid. By admitting that they’re depressed or thinking about suicide, they’re asking you for help. Help them. It’s your duty, not only as a friend or family member, but as a fellow human being to help them.
Showing compassion can save a life.
Everyone needs to practice compassion in all their interactions with other humans. You never know when your smile could save a life. They may be going through hell and your smile was what lifted their spirits. On the flip side, your arrogance, lack of empathy or plain ignorance, could be what sends them over the edge. They may be going through hell and you dropping the door on them is the straw that broke the camel’s back. You never know how the tiniest gesture or expression is going to effect another person. It sounds hokey, but it’s necessary to sustain human life: put yourself in other people’s shoes. You have no idea what is going through someone else’s head. You also probably don’t know just how little of a thing could make or break a person’s life.
In closing, I am not an expert on this subject. There is far more to be learned on the subject and though I don’t believe it’s possible to ever fully know a single subject, I intend to learn as much as I possibly can. If I save one life I’ll be grateful. I know what a gift “saving a life” is. I strongly encourage anyone who’s taken the time to read this to continue to educate yourself and speak out about suicide. Spread the word. You can save a life.