The Tragedy of Suicide
Suicide is tragic. It cuts a life short and devastates the family, friends, and loved ones left behind. The children of people who die by suicide are more likely to make a suicide attempt in their lives later. Those who survive a suicide attempt might have a severe disability or other injuries. One of my favorite entertainers was Stephen “tWitch” Boss, a dancer on the Ellen DeGeneres TV show.
People who attempt suicide see no other options in their lives. These people not only believe they have no other options but also want to end the emotional suffering they are experiencing.
People of all genders, ages, and ethnicities are at risk of suicide. Women are more likely than men to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to die by suicide. Men often choose deadlier methods, such as guns. Women are more likely to use poison or suffocation from gas or carbon monoxide.
According to the NIH, older men and those 85 and older have the highest risk of suicide. The other group with a high risk of suicide is teenagers.
Teenagers are very susceptible to social media. Bullying occurs on social media, hurling insults at the targeted scapegoat. Such insults included comments about physical appearance, personality, intelligence, and desirability as a friend, among others. The worst comment hurled at these young people is that they do everyone a favor and commit suicide. Filled with despair, they commit suicide.
One of the most effective tools for preventing suicide is to know the warning signs and take quick action to get the person into treatment. A vital warning sign of suicide risk is when somebody talks about suicide. It is a myth that someone’s talk about suicide is only an attempt to get attention.
Additional warning signs include:
- Withdrawal from usual activities.
- A change in mood.
- Loss of appetite.
- Change in sleep patterns.
- A sudden shift into a good mood from a depressed mood.
That sudden shift in mood can signify that the individual decided to commit suicide.
It is essential to ask the person directly if they are having thoughts of self-harm or suicide. There was a commonly held myth that asking the person about self-harm puts the idea into their minds. Most people will answer honestly, and the question will not push a person to attempt suicide.
Finally, if a loved one or friend is in danger, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This free, federally funded service is available to anyone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.
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