Suicide Prevention...Let's Talk About It

(TRIGGER WARNING: this article discusses sensitive mental health issues, specifically suicide and depression. If you suffer from depression or suicidal thoughts, please get help as soon as possible. National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255)

This topic is difficult to talk about. I wasn’t even going to write this article, but it is September, meaning it is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. This month is a time to spread awareness and provide coping skills and relevant resources for those individuals struggling with depression. We need to end the stigma around mental health issues and help those closest to us. 

Spread Awareness

Depression is a common disorder that causes severe symptoms of feeling distraught. It affects your emotions, the way you think, and the way you handle everyday activities, (NIMH). In order to be diagnosed, symptoms must be present for no less than two weeks. There are many different types of depression: postpartum, persistent depressive disorder, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and bipolar disorder. For individuals to understand depression as a mental illness they need to understand that this is a disorder. No one wants to have depression. No one wants to stay in their room for hours on end, shutting out everyone important in their life.

The Netflix show One Day At A Time provides the audience with an idea of what anxiety and depression feels like for those struggling with it. Episode 9 season 2, viewers learn that depression is a long recovery process. To summarize, the main character, a veteran, suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. She decides to get off her medication as she believes she is cured, because she has been doing so well. You can see throughout the episode that she spirals back into her anxiety-ridden and depressed ways. She stays in bed for days, missing important events in her life and provides very personal inner dialogue depicting what she is feeling. I urge you to watch the show as it provides such a great example of what happens during a depressive episode. This show provides so much awareness for people struggling with this disorder. 

Do not stay isolated, because your feelings WILL get worse.

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/zaps-certain-spot-brain-may-ease-depression

Coping skills

Every forty seconds there is a suicide somewhere around the world - this is approximately a million preventable deaths in one year. I say “preventable” because there is always a solution to depression. There are coping skills, prescription drugs, and therapy which can help individuals get through the disorder. Here are some coping skills when dealing with depression or feeling suicidal:

  • Avoid drugs and alcohol – alcohol is a depressant, meaning it fuels your negative thoughts and actions causing one to become more depressed.

  • Seek human connection – hang out with friends or loved ones. Do not stay isolated, because your feelings WILL get worse.

  • Remind yourself what you did in your past – what worked last time when you were feeling this way? 

    • Think about your strengths or accomplishments, how do they make you feel?

  • Connect with Suicide Hotlines – this is free! If you are feeling suicidal, or have no one to talk to, you can call or text these counselors at ANY time. 

    • Call: 1-800-273-8255

    • Text: HELLO to 741-741

https://healthresearchfunding.org/many-people-commit-suicide-year/

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

Warning signs

These warning signs are important to spot because they may potentially save a life. 

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself 

  • Researching ways to do it

  • Feeling hopeless or like you have no reason to live

  • Feeling trapped 

  • Talking about being a burden 

  • Increase of substance use, alcohol, or drugs

  • Sleeping irregularly – too much or too little 

  • Extreme mood swings 

(SuicidePreventionLifeLine)

https://www.romper.com/p/the-4-most-emotionally-abusive-zodiac-signs-are-hardwired-to-hurt-your-feelings-15961845

Resources

If you or a loved one is suffering, please get help. There is always a solution to your problems, no matter how difficult they might be. If you have a loved one showing these warning signs, open up the conversation. Be authentic in your conversation because most of the time, these individuals don’t want to burden you with their feelings. Here are some resources that can track depression, provide lifelines, and help any individual on the verge of a suicide attempt.