Luck Should Not Be Our Best Defense Against Suicide
LUCK SHOULD NOT BE OUR BEST DEFENSE AGAINST SUICIDE
When I was in the eighth grade at a small private christian school in a middle class neighborhood, one of my classmates shot herself. We were left shocked and scared. How could this happen?
My sister called recently to tell me her friend’s 19 year old brother committed suicide. The family knew he was struggling and had an appointment for help. His father left for 10 minutes to pick up his sister from basketball practice. He returned home too late. No hope. So much anguish.
A Real Struggle
Wanting to die is not not a normal wish. However, it may seem so for a person struggling with suicidal thoughts for days or months or years. Pain, loneliness and feelings of hopelessness lead to desperation. In those moments thoughts become distorted and there seems to be no way out. When stuck in this cycle of despair it’s easy to believe that suicide provides an answer. Except it doesn’t. Ask anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one from suicide.
One Family’s Story – We Didn’t Know
The well-dressed woman told the story of a young man who excelled academically, competitively, and socially. He was handsome, funny, and his smile lit up a room. He was the life of the party. She spoke of her belief that his future was going to be amazing.
She told us this young man was her son and that, at 19 years old, he died by suicide.
The room was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. She and her husband went back and forth describing the aftermath of what happened to their son – and to them.
Choking back tears, her husband stepped forward and said, “We did everything right. Two-parent household, good schools. We were involved with our son. I work hard and have a good job. We live in a nice house.”
His voice trailed off and his wife added, “We loved our son. We didn’t know.”
Some are more fortunate. Their family recognizes that something’s wrong. They are taken to the emergency room before it’s too late. They are put in a crisis center until stabilized and connected with treatment. Some are not so lucky. There were no conversations about serious mental health issues. There was no crisis center. No one knew…
TURNING DESPERATE MOMENTS INTO HOPE
Luck should not be our best defense against suicide. We cannot afford to ignore mental health. The difficult conversations must continue again and again. Knowing the warning signs of suicide and having a safe place to take a loved one could be the difference between life and death. Our words cannot be the same in five years. “If only there were more resources, more awareness, more tools, more safe places.”
We will keep talking, keep building, keep educating, keep loving and keep working to turn desperate moments into hope.
70% of people who commit suicide tell someone or give some type of warning signs before hand. You don’t have to know how serious the risk is to take action. Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide and keep your ears and eyes open. Someone may be longing for the help you can connect them with.