We are used to reading about suicide in the USA, these articles usually consist of statistics and the outcomes of research. But what do we do when those numbers are our friends and family? Those who have lost someone to suicide would agree that life and death are not something to be analyzed, and victims to suicide do not deserve to be viewed as just another statistic. Society teaches us to ignore certain issues because it is easier than facing the facts. But when youth suicide is prevalent in our own community, we cannot sit back and watch.
There is such a large stigma around mental health, strong enough that those struggling with an issue will not reach out. Mental health disorders are stereotyped as people who spend most of their time alone or with a consistently pessimistic attitude. Depression, in reality, is the people with the biggest smiles who hide the fact that they can barely motivate their selves to get out of bed in the morning. Anxiety is the people who seem as if they have it all together but break down from the constant stress and worrying. Eating disorders are hidden behind fake smiles and reassuring that they are just losing weight naturally. These people are our classmates, our friends, and our family. People with mental health issues like these and many others often cry for help in ways most would not be able to recognize until it is too late.
For those of you reading this who are concerned about someone in your life, here are some of the warning signs that they are potentially planning on committing suicide:
Talking about wanting to die, feeling hopeless, trapped, like a burden to others, and anything else along those lines.
Increasing use of drugs and/or alcohol
Behaving recklessly, agitated, or anxious
Sleeping too little or too frequently
Isolating themselves from others
Losing interest in activities they usually enjoy doing
Extreme mood swings
Giving away sentimental items
Saying good-bye to others
Most importantly, one planning to commit suicide may exhibit some or all of these signs then show a sudden improvement. This improvement may come from them making the final decision to take their life, and therefore feeling relief from that. It is essential to recognize this. Warning signs are different for every person, so it is important to pay attention to the people around you. It could save their life.
How many more teenagers must lose the battle to suicide before we learn to prioritize mental health? Teen suicide is becoming an epidemic across the USA. Now is the time to make a change and speak out for mental health. Now, because there are thousands out there on the verge of giving up and we cannot simply give up on them. Now, because if not, we will lose more sisters, brothers, and friends.
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
To donate to the family of Kora Abbott: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kora-joy-in-loving-memory
Information from CDC