Most people shy away from the subject. It’s difficult, and uncomfortable, and leaves us facing our own mortality. We’d rather smile, nod our heads and switch the conversation to something safe and mundane–like redecorating our bathroom or go on and on about how we’re looking forward to spring. It’s a way to stick our head in the proverbial sand, allow us to stay well inside our comfort zone. Steer us clear from such tough issues … or keep us from saying the wrong thing to someone thinking about the unimaginable.
I get it. I really do. It’s not easy. Most of us would rather ignore the issue.
But cloaking ourselves in ignorance and denial does nothing but make situations worse. And not having the tools to deal with someone contemplating suicide leaves us feeling utterly helpless and out of control. I’ve been so touched by this issue–colleagues that have lost loved ones, friends that have attempted suicide, students that left this world before their life even began.
It’s got to stop.
The statistics are staggering:
- Every 40 seconds we lose a life to suicide in the world.
- Every 12 minutes we lose a life to suicide in America.
- For every 1 suicide, there are around 25 attempts.
- There are twice as many suicides than there are homicides.
- The suicide rates for children 10-14 doubled from 2007 to 2014.
- More Men have died by suicide yet more women have attempted.
- More young people die from suicide than from Cancer, AIDS, chronic lung disease, pneumonia, heart diseases all combined.
- There is an estimate of around 3,041 attempts per day by young people grade 9 – 12.
September the 10th is suicide prevention day, and I’m so honored to be partnering with the USA Today bestselling author Eva Pohler to help raise a little money but more importantly bring awareness to an alarming societal trend that has affected us all in one way or another.
Someone you know may be considering suicide if they
- are researching or talking about ways to kill themselves.
- feel hopeless or as if they have no purpose.
- feel trapped or are in unbearable emotional or physical pain.
- feel as if they are a burden to others.
- increase their use of alcohol or drugs.
- have massive changes in sleep, either excessive sleep or insomnia.
- start to become isolated and withdrawn.
- become impassioned with rage or a desire to seek revenge.
- become increasingly anxious, agitated or reckless.
- have extreme mood swings.
- have change in self-care habits (not showering, brushing teeth, meeting their basic needs).
- start giving away prized possessions.
- start getting affairs in order, tying up loose ends, or writing a will.
What you can to do help
The overwhelming research says the best thing we can do for people contemplating suicide is to listen. Really listen with the intent of understanding. They need compassion, for someone to hear their pain, their suffering and simply be there for them so they don’t feel isolated and alone.
Maintain your empathy, not pity. Listen through the anger, the blame, the guilt, and the shame. Help them by simply being there, sitting next to them as they go through their own personal hell.
And then realize they need help beyond the scope of what a “friend” can do. Encourage them to seek a professional that can help them find coping strategies to deal with whatever they are struggling through.
If you would like to help grow awareness of this important cause, there are several things you can do.
Join us for our Facebook author event, Book Lovers Unite for World Suicide Prevention Day.
Help us spread the word that where there is life, there is hope.