TLDR — If you need help, tell someone. Find someone that you trust. If there is no one, call 1-800-273-8255 in the United States to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You CAN make it through this.
Have you ever had someone you love commit suicide? Knocking on wood, I’m grateful to say that I’ve never experienced this tragedy with anyone I love or am close to. While suicide hasn’t touched me or my loved ones directly, it’s still important to raise awareness of mental health and mental illness.
This blog post is in memoriam of the people I know who have had suicide touch their lives, and all of the victims. They often say that it’s just as tough for the people who are left here on Earth than for the people who pass on. Regardless who it is “more difficult” for, today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and I wanted to take a moment to bring some awareness to it on HESONWHEELS.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control reminds us that suicide was the 10th leading cause of death for all ages in 2010. That’s 38, 364 in the entire year, which averages to about 105 each day of the year. Although females are more likely than males to have suicidal thoughts, suicide among males is four times higher that females – men are about 79% of all U.S. suicides.
When it comes to young people, suicide is an even more startling issue. It’s the third leading cause of death amongst people in my age bracket (15-24 years old), which is about 20% of all deaths annually for that age range. The prevalence of suicidal thought, planning, or attempts are significantly higher among adults aged 18-29 than among adults more than 30 years old.
The above video is from 2010 and documents the thousands of, specifically college students, people who are lost to suicide each year. The backpacks they use in this unique silent protest is an amazing and powerful demonstration of how we should “Send Silence Packing.” When individuals are suffering from suicidal ideation, it is common for them to feel uncomfortable talking to others about it – they remain silent. Send Silence Packing is a movement that displays the backpacks of college students – some who are still living and some who took their own lives – to powerfully demonstrate to us that we should look for the warning signs of and support people through their suicidal ideation.
“It’s not a character flaw, and it’s not something that is wrong with you as a person…”
One of the most powerful quotes in that video, toward the end, is when a female student says that “it’s not a character flaw, and it’s not something that is wrong with you as a person.” What a powerful statement. Suicide notes show that when someone is thinking of taking their own life, they don’t feel this way. I hope this demonstration helps. While I wasn’t in Fairfax on GMU’s campus today, I can only imagine how moving and honestly saddening it would be to observe a demonstration so intense. Yet, this is a very important cause. This is real. Mental illness is real.
For more information on the organization that sponsors this traveling demonstration, check out the website of Active Minds.
Most importantly, if you have ever lost someone to this horrible, dreadful disease, please know that there are always people there to talk to, vent to, and chat with. I’m one of them. While there’s nothing that we can do to bring back the loves ones that we have lost, there is so much that we can do to honor their memory and live in ways that would make them proud…