As we start 2013 take time to reflect on the past year and how suicide has effect us locally and nationally. I personally have lost family members to suicide and wish I knew then what I know now about suicide. Suicide is a subject that many people feel carries with it a stigma, a subject that should never be talked about. Suicide is a growing with all age groups and it does not matter the race you are or how much money your make, what you do for a living. Almost everyone who is lost (committed is not the word to use) or attempts suicide has given some clue or warning. Do not ignore suicide threats. Statements like "you'll be sorry when I'm dead," "I can't see any way out," - no matter how casually or jokingly said may indicate serious suicidal feelings. Also a person lost to suicide is not as some would say psychotic or insane or even crazy. This is far from the facts. People who have reached a point in there lives where they feel that taking there lives is the only way to find comfort or heal the pain that there are feeling. At times this is an ongoing fight each day to find a reason to live or a reason to move unto the next day. Then there is the last minute suicides when alcohol or drugs gives a person strength to move forward with their suicide.
There are many factors that would prompt a person to suicidal thoughts. Depression, family struggles, PTSD, bullying, mental illness, drugs, alcohol, etc Even the most severely depressed person has mixed feelings about suicide or how they can move forward, wavering between wanting to live and wanting to die. What can husbands, wives, sons, daughters, aunt uncles, friends do? Take their comments seriously and give time to them to listen. Sometimes taking five minutes out of your day to listen to what they have to say could save a life. Take time to show them that yes someone cares, that someone is willing to help.
The facts are that we are losing a person to suicide at a rate of one every 13.9 minutes, with the elderly it's one every 90 minutes, youth its one every two hours, it is also the 10th ranked death in the U.S. and third among youths in the U.S. In recent years the military has had an increase in suicides among the active duty and veterans. From Jan. 1, 2012, until Dec. 3, 2012, we have lost to suicide 6,067 veterans and 462 active duty/reserve personnel.
Suicide leaves behind many survivors; we not only need to think of the person lost but we need to be there for the survivors of suicide. We also need to look to 2013 and find the many ways to bring down the numbers for all suicides. Everyone needs to look down into there hearts and find the time and the way to support those in need. Ways to help; join a local organization, help at senior centers, mentor in your local school.
For those lost to suicide we send out our prayers, I encourage everyone to "take time to listen, because this is free, if you are able to save a life then you have given a gift that has more value that anything else on this earth.
Crossing Rivers Support Group