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In Honor of Suicide Prevention Month…

To anyone who has lost a loved one due to suicide, I’m sorry for your loss. Don’t torture yourself by wallowing in guilt. Just Know that they fought hard before the weight of their world became too much for them to bear. If you have thought about committing suicide please know that you are loved and I hope you never stop fighting.

College Students and Suicide

For college students, suicide is one of the leading causes of death, with more than 1000 suicides and more than 20,000 suicide attempts happening on college campuses per year. The stress and pressure in college are immense and it can be a lot to handle for all college students. Loneliness, family conflicts, relationship problems, financial struggles, academic stress, and depression are all reasons behind the high suicide rates amongst college students. As suicide rates among students continually increase, it seems like its causes continually get ignored or swept under the rug by universities. It is time for universities to put more effort, time, and resources into active suicide prevention among their students. If colleges and universities treated suicide like the health crisis that it is, the number of suicides would decrease.

Everyone knows that the years spent in college play a crucial role in people’s lives as it is a transitory period in life. For many people, it’s the first time in their lives where they are exposed to such a wide range of people and ideas, and also having a large amount of freedom. It is very easy to get introduced to different substances; like different types of drugs and alcohol. Many start to abuse these substances to cope with the stress and pressure of the student life. Substance abuse can increase the risk of suicide as it can alter the way your brain functions. Getting accustomed to a brand new environment can be hard, most people go to college and part ways with the people closest to them, leaving their family and friends behind and being forced to start a new life all by themselves. The weight of forming a new life away from home, along with the seemingly never-ending academic demands of college, is what contributes to depression amongst college students and unfortunately can result in them committing suicide.

Knowing the Signs

When it comes to suicide prevention, knowing the signs is important. As changes in behavior and attitude can be a cry for help most of the time. Pay attention to the people you love and don’t take any sudden or drastic behavioral changes lightly. If someone shows increased agitation or anger toward you and the other people around them, don’t take it too personally as they are probably struggling with mental health and do not know how to explicitly reach out for help. If the people close to you seem like they are getting distant, don’t be afraid to reach out and check on them. Even if they seemingly push you away, it’s important to remain close to them and still offer your support. Behavioral changes are clear indicators in telling you if someone is struggling, other alarming behavioral changes can include: increased substance use, declines in academic performance, ignoring personal hygiene, and neglecting one’s appearance. If someone you know is showing any of these signs, just be patient and do not hesitate to ask. In many cases suicide is preventable, but it is important to take action before it is too late.

How to Help Someone who is Suicidal

While knowing and recognizing the indicators of someone who is suicidal is important, however, it’s not always enough. If you care about them, take action, whether directly or indirectly. When you are dealing with people who you think may be suicidal it’s important to be direct. You can facilitate the process of getting help as quickly as possible and can possibly decrease their chances of committing. Don’t judge them. Don’t be harsh on them. Don’t invalidate their feelings. Don’t attempt to talk them out of suicide by telling them how much you love them and how much you’ll miss them if they were to leave this earth.

Offering alternatives can be the best option, and remember that you can always call and speak to a professional if you are not sure what to do. If you’re worried that your friend in college is suicidal, talk to the administration, and find a school counselor who can help you deal with the situation adequately. Acts of service can go a long way when trying to help a person struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts. Go to the store for them, bring them food, cook or clean for them, and help them with everyday tasks. Sometimes these small acts of kindness can make a person’s day and help them out tremendously. Depression can be disabling and in doing these things you will be greatly improving the life and health of someone who is struggling.

Additional Resources for Suicide Prevention

If someone you know is struggling, do not be scared to call and ask for help. Most suicidal people don’t want to die, but they cannot see any other ways to solve their problem. Always be kind and show grace towards them, what they are going through is not easy and people who think about or attempt suicide are living in extreme states of anguish and may feel like they are constantly being tormented by the events in their everyday lives. Suicide can be prevented, when the appropriate steps are taken.

For additional resources on suicide prevention visit:

https://suicidology.org/

http://www.afsp.org/

http://www.halfofus.com/

http://www.cdc.gov/ncipc

http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

http://www.ulifeline.org/

enjoy <3.
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