This week in Brevard County Schools in Florida is Suicide Awareness Week. This is such an important topic, even though it’s a very heavy.
It’s important to note that suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10-24 year olds.
That’s a sobering statistic.
I’ve worked with many people who have felt suicidal in my nearly 30 year career between mental health and school guidance counseling. It is so heart-wrenching to look into the eyes of a teenager and know they have contemplated taking their own life. Maybe they felt their life didn’t matter, no one would miss them, no one would care or maybe the pain of being bullied was just too much and they couldn’t see things ever changing or maybe the pain of depression with a darkness so deep they couldn’t imagine things ever being bright again made them consider it. No matter the reason they thought about ending their life, the fact that they considered it seriously and maybe even attempted it, is incredibly sad.
Especially when I know that things do change, things do improve, there is help, there is hope.
I want to encourage you to know the signs and symptoms and seek help whether for yourself or for someone you know.
Some symptoms include the following:
- Giving away prized possessions
- Talking about death, dying
- Using phrases such as “when I’m gone…” or “I’m going to kill myself”
- Getting affairs in order
- Saying goodbye to loved ones
- Obtaining items needed for suicide attempt
- Decreased social contact
- Increasing drug and alcohol usage
- Withdrawing from once-pleasurable activities
- Increased risky behaviors
- Scars or injuries from past suicide attempts
- Changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Chronic and/or terminal illness
- Preoccupation with death and dying
- Belief that dying by suicide is the only way to end emotional pain
- Feeling helpless; trapped by emotional pain
- Intense emotional pain
- Feeling hopeless about a situation
- Mood swings
- Sudden changes in personality
- Severe anxiety and agitation(list taken from Valley Behavioral Health System – to read more, here’s the link http://www.valleybehavioral.com/suicidal-ideation/signs-symptoms-causes)
Talk to a trusted friend, or adult such as a parent, a teacher, coach, guidance counselor or pastor.
Call a help line like 911 (in Brevard County, FL, you can call 211 and speak to a trained professional)
See a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Psychologist, Psychiatrist, or Pastor.
There is treatment. Sometimes “talk therapy” is all that is needed, sometimes medications are required. Sometimes in very serious cases, hospitalization is needed to become stabilized.
You are not alone. You can feel better. There is hope.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and hopefully, share this with others. I encourage your feedback and thoughts.