Suicide prevention should not just be in September.
Someone in the United States dies from suicide every 13 minutes each day. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in America for all ages, and the second for ages 15-to-24. And every year, more than 800 thousand people around the world lose their lives to suicide, according to the CDC.
Every September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time where schools, businesses, people, etc. participate in events to raise awareness of the tragedy. While these statistics are obvious reasons to participate in ways to spread suicide awareness, I’m going to put out three more reasons as to why Suicide Prevention Month is arguably one of the most important times of the year.First and most importantly, suicide is not under any circumstances glamorous or some kind of sick trend. This might seem completely obvious, but unfortunately, I have met some people that honestly believe this horrible act is not one of desperation, but part of a completely messed up, (to put it lightly), trend going around. Sadly, lots of celebrities and public figures have committed suicide in recent years, which might lead people to believe this, but I can tell you straight up that is a complete lie.
Going along with that, not only is suicide not a trend, it is not an act of attention seeking. Whenever I hear people say this, I want to scream. Having known people that have lost their lives to suicide, I can honestly tell you that suicide stems from a horrible disease in the brain, and is never just someone looking for attention. You can look for attention in other ways, not by ending your life. If you have ever even considered suicide to mean this, stop yourself right now and reevaluate everything you believe in relation to mental health. How would you feel if you were considering ending your life and somebody thought you were just looking for attention? Also, most people struggling with depression and/or suicidal thoughts mostly keep to themselves because they don’t want to burden others. Please remember this, because ignorance is not bliss, especially regarding mental health.
Third and also important, suicide can affect anybody whenever they least expect it. If you had asked me years ago if I would ever have to deal with losing someone to suicide or knowing someone struggling with suicidal thoughts, I would never have believed it. Unfortunately, I have dealt with cases like these too many times in my most recent years. What I can say is this: love your friends and family with all your heart, and make sure if they are struggling, they are getting the proper help they need. This does not mean just giving them a hug or listening to them vent; they need professional care and you are not equipped to handle such strong issues.
To those of you who have already lost someone to suicide, I am truly sorry. To those of you struggling with the idea of suicide right now, ending your life is not the answer and please look for help. To those of you who are not struggling with this, please be conscious of those around you. It’s so true that you honestly never know what someone is going through, and even just a simple smile can make somebody’s day. I hate the statistics of suicide, and hope that with the help of Suicide Prevention Month and other ways to raise awareness, maybe we could work to end suicide once and for all.
If you or someone you know is struggling with and/or considering suicide, please call 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org, or if you are a Drake University student, contact the Counseling Center at (515) 271-3864. There is always help and hope.