Suicide Prevention Month – #BeThe1To
September is national Suicide Prevention Week, with September 10th designated as the official Suicide Prevention Day. While it seems odd to suggest we celebrate such an event, those very celebrations and conversations could save a life. Talking about suicide is the number one way to prevent such a tragic loss, especially if you are reaching out to someone who is struggling.
In 2013, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 41,149 people died as a result of suicide. That means someone took their own life every 12.8 minutes. 77.9% of those deaths were male, 22.1% were female. On top of that, 2013 reports show an additional 494,169 people were seen in US hospitals for injuries related to self-harm behavior.
What does all this mean?
Suicide rates were on the decline from 1986 to 2000 but that trend took a upward turn and now nearly 13 deaths out of every 100,000 are related to suicide. To give a comparison value, 2009 saw 36,909 lives lost. Between 2009 and 2013 196,540 individuals died. Facts, figures and charts are great, but ultimately we are talking about human lives.
A Personal Experience
I chose to use 2009 as the comparison year because my cousin Spencer was one of those 36,909. Spencer was a smart, funny, vibrant person. He loved to dance and was one of the top ballroom dancers at Utah Valley University. More importantly, Spencer was my friend and the cousin closest in age on my mom’s side. Deep down, however, Spencer was hurting.
Unbeknownst to us, Spencer was suffering from depression, and on August 25th 2009 he took his own life. I’ll never forget the look on my mother’s face when she came into my room at 5:30 the following morning to tell me the news. I was speechless. It is one thing when you lose a grandparent or an aunt or uncle due to age. It is more “normal” when they pass on, that’s the progression of life. To lose someone just a year older than myself was heartbreaking and one of the most difficult experiences I’ve had to endure.
Suicide Prevention – You Are Not Alone
If you are struggling, know that you are not alone. Please seek help by reaching out to a loved one, a friend, or the suicide prevention lifeline. The staff here at Elk Grove Charter is also here to help you.
Suicide Prevention – Be The Friend Who Cares
If you notice someone is having a rough time, reach out and let them know you care. The moment you see signs that that might indicate suicidal thoughts, be straightforward and ask “Are you thinking about ending your life?” If the answer is yes, seek help immediately.
I can’t go back and prevent Spencer from taking his life, but together we can help save others who would do the same.
For more information visit http://www.suicideispreventable.org or call the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.