Suicide Awareness: Why It Deserves So Much More Than a Week

Annual suicide awareness week stretches from September 9th through the 15th, but these short seven days seem like a trivial amount of time to bring to attention the gravity of the subject.

From a factual standpoint, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) lists suicide as the second leading cause of death in the United States for adolescents ages 15-19. This means that more American teens are dying of suicide than of disease, homicide, or automobile accidents. As a community, it is our job to ensure that there are no more. No more students feeling scared, children feeling lonely, and adults feeling hopeless.

School programs try their best with initiatives like Ok2Say, and assemblies that tell kids that they matter and that there are people who can help them, but the stigma that “asking for help makes you weak” still remains as children often slip through the cracks. This is an issue that can be solved; asking for help makes you a fighter, and if you don't want to make it known, anonymous sources can be reached as well. Something inside of me just can't help but think that if everyone knew how readily available these resources are, they could grab ahold of this proverbial life raft and let themselves be led to safety.

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I feel that the most important thing to remember is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. At the ripe old age of sixteen, I was dragged out of my bedroom to be told that a friend of mine, who was more like a brother, was found dead by his own hands on his bathroom floor. I know how it feels to have your life be turned upside down, to question its meaning, to sit at a funeral and wonder how life could be so cruel. He was the kid who had too many friends to count, and enough people who loved him to fill a village. The kid who was never seen without a smile on his face, but was at battle with demons and lost. So, as someone who as personal experience with this subject, I can say without a doubt that you are STRONG, you are LOVED, and you can DO THIS. Humans are capable of amazing things in times of pure hopelessness. I was once told that you must hit the bottom before you can start your climb back up.

If you are reading this article and feel you are at your absolute bottom, now is time to rise. If you don't know what your next step should be, let me help. Your next step is to please contact one of the numbers at the bottom of this page, explain your situation, and begin your journey to a healthy life.

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Suicide awareness week may be technically over according to the calendar, but you should never stop checking up on the people in your life and community. Let those around you know how much they are loved; don't let people who look lonely stay that way. Be ‘that friend’ who never stops asking “are you sure you're okay?” If anyone around you ever expresses suicidal thoughts or actions, please alert a trusted adult or the authorities immediately.

 

For emergency help, call 9-1-1

National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255

Crisis Text Line: Text  741714 from anywhere in the US to speak with a trained crisis counselor.