Happy July and happy Independence Day! I hope that this finds you all remarkably blessed. As we prepare to celebrate the independence of our nation, I encourage you to think about what freedom truly means to you. In comparison to other countries, our freedom is much greater. Freedom means something a little different to each of us. There’s the freedom to choose our own path in life, the freedom to make our own decisions and create our own journey. Yes, there will be struggles. Every individual experiences struggles and pain, more for some than for others it seems. No one is above struggles and pain, but everyone has their own that are individualized to them because no one has ever experienced exactly what they have experienced. It is our own journey and ours alone.
It is with a heavy heart that this week I chose to write about suicide.
I, along with our whole community of Yerington, was heavily impacted by suicide in the past week. So many thoughts, emotions, and feelings are surging wildly within each of us and our community. Suicide has no preference. Suicide impacts so many individuals in the world whether young or old, male or female, and no matter one’s color or background. Suicide is an evil that has impacted many of us at one time or another. Suicide is something that leaves the living with so many unanswered questions. The whys, if onlys, and should-haves creep in and can consume individuals who are left behind trying to make sense of this tragic thing called suicide. Individuals, family, friends, neighbors, whole communities and at times entire countries are greatly and forever impacted by the effects of suicide. There’s always a theme of trying to make sense of a death that could have been avoided if only the individual used the freedom to continue to carry on in life.
Many different feelings are felt by the survivors of suicide that range from hurt, anger, grief, guilt, rage, depression and many other mental health issues for the rest of their lives. Healing after a suicidal death is long and painful. Time is the best healer, but we are not always patient people and this can be very frustrating to us. Being aware of yourself and others around you is important so that you can recognize when it might be beneficial to engage in some counseling or group sessions for healing and learning to continue life after a suicide has occurred. Grief counseling can have a huge impact for survivors to learn how to battle through their thoughts and feelings and learn to carve a path in life without their loved one. Find someone to talk with even if it is just a friend. Talking can be one of the best things that you can do for yourself when you are grieving.
- Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in 10 to 30-year-olds in the United States.
- There were twice as many suicide-related deaths than homicides in the United States in 2017.
Individuals that have experienced a trauma in their life like abuse as a child, sexual abuse, violence, and even bullying are always at a higher risk for suicide. Bullying suicide deaths are on the rise and individuals who feel bullied are upwards of nine times more susceptible to suicide.
Awareness and Prevention:
What can we do as an individual or as a community to help share awareness and prevention tools?
- Educate yourself about suicide.
- Learn some easy questions to ask if you have a gut feeling that something is not right. Just ask if they are okay or if they want to talk. Your gut is usually not wrong, listen to it!
- Have resources readily available when needed (I have listed several below)
- Do not be afraid to talk about suicide. Contrary to many beliefs, asking an individual about suicide does not give them the idea. Individuals who might be contemplating suicide have been contemplating it long before you asked.
- Brining awareness to ourselves and our communities is a never-ending task.
Freedom of choice is one of the many that we have in our nation. However, many individuals that suffer from mental health related illnesses do not feel as though they have freedom. They often feel as if they are all tied up. By reaching out and just asking if someone is okay, you can do so very much to help encourage freedom in individuals who are contemplating suicide. That person may not always say yes or even want to talk about, but at least you asked, and they now know that you care. You have given them a helping hand and they now have the freedom to choose. You have given them the freedom to choose to live or to die.
Suicide Prevention Resources:
There are many many resources out there. If you are worried and need to call 911 then do so.
Northern Nevada Children’s Mobile Response Team – (775)-688-1670 http://knowcrisis.com/
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
Suicide online Lifeline Chat resource – https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/chat/
Suicide prevention screening tool – https://cssrs.columbia.edu/training/training-options/
Children and family supportive services at: https://www.dougy.org/grief-resources/how-to-help-a-grieving-child/
Grief and Bereavement counseling in Northern Nevada: http://ambercreek.org/grief-bereavement.php
Happy 4th of July. Have a Blessed Week!
Be GREAT this week,