Suicide: the act or an instance of taking one’s own life voluntarily. Some people don’t take this issue seriously as an issue teens are facing but it is real, and happening right now. It is an act easily triggered by depression. But luckily, just because it is in your genes, doesn’t mean you can get it. Some other risk factors are bullying. like some people get in the LGBTQ community, having major pressure from adults to excel, and even being too overwhelmed by work, so you able to get any “fun” time to yourself.
Many people don’t know this but it is the third leading cause of death among young people across the country. It is the result of mental health conditions that affect people when they are most vulnerable. Suicide causes more people to die than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia, influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. You can help by spreading awareness and positivity all around you.
Regrettably, one reason some people do not receive the help they need is because people do not recognize the warning signs. If you see someone that is expressing feelings of helplessness or hopelessness, seems to be depressed, or is different from their usual personality, they could be a victim of suicidal thoughts. Other warning signs include:
-Giving away prized possessions
-Having a lack of interest of future plans
-Saying “You’d be better off without me.”
-Saying “This pain is going to be over soon.”
-Not caring about activities they used to care about
If you recognize any of the behavior above in your friend, talk to them. You don’t want to assume something is wrong when nothing really is. That said, just because they tell you “nothing is wrong” doesn’t mean it’s true. Continue looking for other signs. If your friend continues to show the above behavior, take action:
– Address the situation directly and immediately.
– Tell an adult about how your friend is acting and get help
If your friend is demonstrating any of the above behavior, confront them. Don’t swear to secrecy, don’t act shocked/judgmental, and don’t counsel the person. Try to tell an adult about your friend, even if they refuse, and get them help. Suicide is a serious issue that we need to stop together. It is not a problem that we can simply grit our teeth and wish away.
On September 10, 2016, people walked to spread awareness all across the country. People were talking about it with their peers and showed understanding to those affected by suicide as well. There were silent vigils and people even participated through social media. The key is making sure that the person knows that they are not alone, neither in the problem, nor the solution.
“In one of my classes there were three girls that said at one point they wanted to commit suicide.” says Mr. Gohr, ninth grade health teacher at Benicia High School. “I had about twelve kids in total. All ninth graders.”
On that note, you never know what someone is going through so always be kind. People go through all sorts of problems and a smile to a stranger could make things so much better.
Let’s say that there isn’t anyone you can talk to at home about what is going on. If that is the case, you can go to Mr. Gohr (M-6) and ask about Sources of Strength. It is a district program started last year for people to come and work through their perceived weaknesses by finding something they are good at. Another BHS club that can help with this is Friday Night Lights. It is a suicide prevention club that works with the city of Benicia to try and create activities for students that will keep them out of boredom. They meet every Thursday at lunch in room M-6.
In many cultures, suicide is a very taboo topic and is not taken seriously, with people instead chalking it up to “craziness” or being “overdramatic.” The truth is that depression and suicide are very serious issues that affect many people. If someone you know is depressed or considering suicide, it is not simply them being “crazy” or “over dramatic.” They need help in order to reach a happier and healthier state, both mentally and emotionally.
If you are considering suicide, call 1-800-273-8255 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It is up 24/7 so if you are thinking about suicide you can contact them and time of the day (or night.) If you aren’t able to call, you could also look up National Suicide Prevention and have an Online Chat. There are many ways you could get better including talking to your counselor, parent, or trusted adult, get therapy, or just talk it out with someone. Just remember, suicide isn’t the answer.
By Nanki Sekhon