I ran across these statistics today and wanted to try and raise awareness on the topic of Suicide among the young. Many are shocked when they hear of a young child who died by suicide. It’s not a topic often addressed because of ‘The Stigma of Suicide’.
Watch for these signs. They may indicate someone is thinking about suicide. The more signs you see, the greater the risk. (YSPP)
- A previous suicide attempt
- Current talk of suicide or making a plan
- Strong wish to die or a preoccupation with death
- Giving away prized possessions
- Signs of depression, such as moodiness, hopelessness, withdrawal
- Increased alcohol and/or other drug use
- Hinting at not being around in the future or saying good-bye
These warning signs are especially noteworthy in light of:
- a recent death or suicide of a friend or family member
- a recent break-up with a boyfriend or girlfriend, or conflict with parents
- news reports of other suicides by young people in the same school or community
Other key risk factors include:
- Readily accessible firearms
- Impulsiveness and taking unnecessary risks
- Lack of connection to family and friends (no one to talk to)
What to do if you see the warning signs?
If a friend mentions suicide, take it seriously. If he or she has expressed an immediate plan, or has access to a gun or other potentially deadly means, do not leave him or her alone. Get help immediately.
These steps can be effective:
1- Show you care …
Often, suicidal thinking comes from a wish to end deep psychological pain. Death seems like the only way out. But it isn’t. Let the person know you really care. Talk about your feelings and ask about his or hers. Listen carefully to what they have to say.
“I’m worried about you, about how you feel.”
”You mean a lot to me. I want to help.”
”I’m here, if you need someone to talk to.”
2- Ask the question …
Don’t hesitate to raise the subject. Talking with young people about suicide won’t put the idea in their heads. Chances are, if you’ve observed any of the warning signs, they’re already thinking about it. Be direct in a caring, non-confrontational way. Get the conversation started.
“Are you thinking about suicide?”
”Do you really want to die?”
“Do you want your problems to go away?”
3- Get help …
Never keep talk of suicide a secret, even if they ask you to. It’s better to risk a friendship than a life. Do not try to handle the situation on your own. You can be the most help by referring your friend to someone with professional skills to provide the help that he or she needs, while you continue to offer support.
“I know where we can get some help.”
”Let’s talk to someone who can help…let’s call the crisis line,now.”
“I can go with you to get some help.”
I’m posting this because for me, Suicide is personal. I attempted suicide at age fourteen and again at 39; I have two relatives that chose this route, one of which was nineteen years old; I have a good friend that went this way, as well.
It’s important to be vigil in regards to these warning signs. Because many victims of suicide never speak of their intent to anyone, parents of children who have left us this way have their grief compounded. Thirty-four years ago when my nineteen year old brother-in-law who was ten years younger than myself chose this way out of his pain, it devastated me. The last time I saw him, the look on his face, still haunts me at times. The ‘Why didn’t I say something?’ still pops into my head and that occurred thirty-five years ago this coming November. As we can see by the statistics, this is very … too … common. We need to break the silence on this matter. If we are able to see any of the warning signs, we need to speak up. We can’t allow fear to stop us. We can’t simply dismiss any ‘gut feelings’ we may be having. We need to not avoid the Bereaved Parents in such a situation. Their battles are unimaginable often even for other Bereaved Parents. We need to educate, we need to reach out.
(((HUGS))) Jude Gibbs, Author of ‘Gifts from the Ashes’ available at:
Articles on WordPress.com: https://wordpress.com/posts/bereavedparentsblog.wordpress.com.
Also, a Contributor on ‘The Mighty’: https://themighty.com/author/jude-gibbs/
Please help spread the Word. TY! (((HUGS)))