September was National Suicide Prevention Month. This time of year is a perfect time to remind us to be kind to one-another, to look for signs in people that may be contemplating suicide, and to take the necessary action to be able to help them. Rationally, we all know that suicide is a permanent solution to what is often a temporary problem – but to those that are struggling, it is not always seen that way.
So, lets break everything down with starting on being kind to one-another. My grandmother would often say that “Kindness doesn’t cost nothing – give it to everyone everywhere you go.” Such a simple statement is also so true. I wish we didn’t need a month out of the year or a holiday when we needed to be reminded to be kind to one another. But I guess with our busy fast paced lives we need that periodic reminder. In a perfect world, we would be kind to one another always, but as we all know – we are not perfect.
There are times that we are petty, angry, troubled with finances/relationship issues/health issues, or simply just having a tough day. When we are going through these ordeals we often don’t think about others because we are too focused on fixing our own problems – which is expected. But what we shouldn’t do is lash out or be mean to others. When we are having a bad day perhaps the person next to us is having an emotionally catastrophic day – we never know what someone else is going through and for that reason we should always be kind to all those around us (I am paraphrasing a quote that the comedian Robin Williams once gave before he committed suicide).
Such a simple thing as kindness and reaching out to someone in need can impact that person greatly and truly help to prevent suicide.
After we start with being kind to one-another we should also learn to recognize the warning signs in others that may be contemplating suicide. Here are some warning signs that you should be aware of:
- Appearing depressed or sad most of the time.
- Talking or writing about death or suicide.
- Withdrawing from family and friends.
- Feeling hopeless.
- · Feeling helpless.
- Feeling strong anger or rage.
- Feeling trapped -- like there is no way out of a situation.
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes.
- Abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Exhibiting a change in personality.
- Acting impulsively.
- Losing interest in most activities.
- Experiencing a change in sleeping habits.
- Experiencing a change in eating habits.
- Losing interest in most activities.
- Performing poorly at work or in school.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Writing a will.
- Feeling excessive guilt or shame.
- Acting recklessly.
Finally, we should consider what to do when someone is showing warning signs that they are contemplating suicide. The most important thing to know is that if you or someone you know are in immediate danger or feeling suicidal then you should call 911 immediately. No “ifs,” “ands,” or “buts” about it – there is no shame in calling 911 for help because that is what they are there for.
If you or someone you know is not in immediate risk or danger when pertaining to suicide, then there are two national numbers below to call that operate 24 hours a day (the counselors at these numbers are trained to give you advice/help if you are considering suicide or if you need advice on how to help someone you think is considering suicide):
Suicide is preventable – it is important that you embrace this idea. I am very passionate about this because I myself have lost a best friend to suicide. My best friend, Greg, took his own life when we were in junior high school. I wish I knew or even had a concept of what he was going through and was able to identify the warning signs back then. I think of my friend often and what could have been.
Suicide is preventable! It starts with us being kind to others and lending an ear or shoulder when others are in need. We then need to identify the warning signs and jump into action by either calling 911 or the numbers listed above to get the help that is needed. The important thing is to reach out and start talking about what is going on. Teachers, friends, family, Clergy, and the counselors at the numbers above are resources to talking about what is going on.
My name is Michael Meyer. I am a board member of Let’s Talk Interactive (the parent company to Let’s Talk Counseling). I am not a therapist or counselor – just someone that has been affected by suicide and never wants anyone to experience the same.
Suicide is Preventable.
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