Saturday the 11th of September is World Suicide Prevention Day. It seems like these days, every day is a national or international day of something. But this one is important. Really important. So let’s talk about it. These are my personal thoughts on the matter.
There is an estimated 800,000 people that commit suicide a year around the world. For every one of those people who died, there is an estimated 25 people who attempted. That’s a lot of people attempting to do something serious, desperate, and very final. It is a problem and we should talk about it.
First of all, I want to talk about who no one likes to talk about it. I understand that. It’s an extremely difficult topic. We have all probably known someone who’s thought/attempted about suicide, and some of us may have even considered it ourselves. It’s considered shameful or cowardly and so we try and avoid discussing it. However not acknowledging it doesn’t mean it’s not there.
What leads someone to considering suicide?
There are many people who can’t understand why anyone would decide to end their own life. I would say if you’ve never felt deeply depressed or suicidal yourself, it’s almost impossible to imagine yourself in that situation seriously. The fact is, there the human mind is complicated, and everyone has different reasons for getting to the point that they believe there is no return. Depression, addiction, apathy, PTSD, the list is almost endless.
Is it possible to prevent it?
The number one question that people ask after someone commits suicide is “why?”. Then they ask “how could I have stopped it?” It’s very easy, for friends or family, to blame themselves afterwards. I want to say first, you should never blame yourself. Ever. There are so many reasons why someone makes the choice to commit suicide, and most of the time it’s not down to a single thing. So don’t ever blame yourself for not being able to prevent it.
If you know someone who you think is at risk, then there are certainly things you can do to help them. Depending on how high a risk, there’s different options to take. The best thing to do is to ask yourself “how can I support them right now?”
Depending on the risk factor, this could lead to different things. Supporting them to the best of your ability could mean anything from simply hanging out with them, to making sure they seek professional help. A little goes a long way, because it shows them that you care and that they’re not alone.
How does it affect others?
For those who have had friends or family that have committed suicide, you probably know the hurt and trauma that comes afterwards. You’ve lost an important person, and in one of the worst possible ways. It’s hard to talk about it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t.
People throw around the word therapy like it’s the instant cure to everything mental related. The fact is, talking to someone can really help you deal with emotions that are overwhelming. Many people believe that since they weren’t the one with suicidal thoughts, they don’t need help. However that’s not always the case, and you have to really decide if you’re ok or not.
How does it affect me?
For those are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other number of reasons that could give you suicidal thoughts, know that there is always another option. Life can be hard. Truly hard. It can also be incredibly lonely. Or unbearable. There’s no denying that, and getting through those times can feel like hell.
But there are also amazing things that can happen. Things that will only happen if you chose to cling on and take another step forward towards another day. The first step, I believe, should be self appreciation. Try and think of all the amazing things that you do and that you can offer to the world. Because you matter, and without you, the world is going to miss out.
I know that sounds corny. But I really believe everyone has something, that without you, the world becomes a little sadder. You matter. So before anything else, remind yourself what a great person you are. A great person that we need.
Reach out and ask for help. It’s not weak. It’s not cowardly. Whether that is a friend, a family member, or a suicide hotline. There will always be someone who will reach back for you. Don’t forget, you can always send me an email.
Even if you don’t feel you’re at the point of considering suicide, if you think you’re falling down a hole, it’s good to talk to someone so that can help you climb back out. I personally understand how cold and alone you can feel sometimes, so give me a shout if you need.