I’m editing this post because I failed to add a resource. The Jason Foundation is a wonderful resource for youth, parents, students, parents, and professionals. They provide training modules and provide valuable information. There is also an app called “A Friend Asks” that provides tips for helping a friend who may be at risk for suicide. Please check it out and pass it along!
This month, I would like to touch on a subject that not many people want to talk about: suicide. It’s likely that your life has been affected by suicide in some way.
Last year, we held an assembly for our high school students on awareness and prevention. To start the assembly, everyone was asked to stand up if their lives had been touched in some way by suicide.
At least half of the auditorium stood up. A young girl behind me whispered to her neighbor. “Wow, I thought I would be the only one standing!” We held the assembly for students to address suicides that had taken place in the school community across the district. We wanted to educate students on how they could recognize the warning signs and equip them to get help for a friend. We also wanted to raise awareness of the resources available on campus and in the community if they themselves were hurting and needed help themselves.
- expressing feelings of sadness, emptiness, or hopelessness
- sudden change in mood or behavior
- sudden “happiness” following a period of sadness or depression
- avoiding activities, friends, or social events
- changes in eating or sleeping patterns
- lack of interest in future plans
- risk-taking behavior such as reckless driving, excessive drug/alcohol use, etc.
- making final arrangements such as giving away personal possessions
How to Help
- watch for warning signs
- take threats or suspicions seriously
- ask the person if he/she is thinking about killing him/herself (this will NOT put the idea in their head or make them more likely to attempt suicide)
- listen carefully
- be honest–it’s okay to be scared
- get help ASAP–talk to someone who can help, tell someone, don’t leave them alone, seek help from a medical or mental health professional, or take to an emergency room
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I hope this information helps you to help someone in need. If you need help, I hope you find courage to reach out for help. Here are some resources I hope you never have to use but I hope you will find helpful if you do.
National Hotline: 1-800-SUICIDE
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-274-TALK (8255)