Finding Hope and Fighting The Suicide Crisis
No matter your age, we all face a variety of stresses, expectations, and trials: keeping good grades in school, making friends, dealing with an unideal family situation, trying to meet society's high standards of perfectly accomplishing several tasks at once... the list goes on. With so many things constantly beating down on us at the same time, it can be easy to spiral into a state of depression, anxiety, or self-criticism until it seems that life is not worth living anymore.
For many people, these feelings of loneliness and hopelessness can push them to the point where they make an attempt to take their life. Some succeed, and the number of successful suicide attempts is increasing. In fact, the rate of deaths by suicide has steadily increased since reaching its lowest point in 2000, and it is now at its highest point since World War II.
Our children, families, friends, and society are facing a whole new level of the fight to not only keep our loved ones here but to help them want to stay themselves.
In this blog post, we want to discuss the things you can do to help yourself or those around you who may be contemplating suicide. The war to protect and save lives is real, and there is something you can do!
We are also partnering with Hope Squad, a school-based peer-to-peer suicide prevention program, to help raise awareness about suicide prevention. From September 8 -14, 2019, all profits made from our signature CARE blend will be donated to Hope Squad and their efforts to create awareness about suicide and increase ins prevention.
When it comes to helping prevent suicide, there are a lot of things you can do to help those around you.
Know The Warning Signs
The first step in preventing suicide involves education, particularly about what you should look for and how to help those who you think or know are contemplating suicide. There are many different warning signs that you can look for, and many of these signs are similar to or the same as signs of depression. Not everyone who is contemplating suicide will exhibit all of the warning signs; in fact, it is best to look for a combination of two or three of the warning signs as an indication of whether someone may be depressed or having suicidal thoughts.
Warning Signs of Suicide
- Disinterest in favorite activities or frequent complaints of boredom
- Substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc.)
- Changes in diet or eating habits
- Withdrawal, particularly from family and friends
- Behavioral problems (not acting themselves)
- Complaints of physical distress (fatigue, migraines, aches, etc.)
- Difficulty concentrating or paying attention
- Declining grades in school
- Actual verbal expressions of wanting to commit suicide
- Gives or throws away favorite or important belongings
- Expresses bizarre or unsettling thoughts on occasion
There are many more warning signs that you can look out for. No matter what, though, it is essential to take any warning signs seriously. If you know of someone who indicates that they might be contemplating suicide, make yourself more aware of them and what they do. Be mindful of their actions, and talk with them about what might be bothering them. If someone is showing signs of potentially harming themselves, do not be afraid to clearly and lovingly ask if they are having thoughts of suicide.
Suicide Risk Factors
According to studies, research, and trends, there are certain risk factors that can cause someone to be at a greater risk of committing suicide than others. By knowing the risk factors and also watching for the warning signs, you can be more observant to those who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide Risk Factors
- Previous suicide attempt
- Recent loss, which may include the death of a family member or friend, financial loss, relationship loss (break up), divorce, job loss, etc.
- Previous psychiatric hospitalization
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- History of child maltreatment in family
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Barriers to accessing mental health treatment, or unwillingness to seek help for mental health due to the attached stigma
- Easy access to lethal methods, particularly handguns and ammunition
- Exposure to violence in the home or social environments
- Aggressive or impulsive tendencies
- Close family member who died by suicide
While the rate of death by suicide is increasing across all age groups, teen suicide is increasing at an especially alarming rate. Teenagers face a host of trials and high expectation on top of learning how to further recognize and deal with difficult emotions. Suicidal tendencies or thoughts can stem from a variety of things, but the result is much too often the same: a contribution to the increasing rate of youth suicide. In fact, suicide is the second leading cause of death among youth ages 10 to 18, at a rate of about 14.6 deaths per 100,000.
According to statistics, young males are 4x more likely to die from suicide than females. In fact, the suicide rate among young men between the ages of 15 and 24 is at its highest since the government started tracking such statistics in 1960. According to the 2017 report (the most recent year of data), the suicide rate for young women has steadily increased since 2000, roughly doubling between then and now. For young men, however, the rate of suicide spiked from a steady rate just about three or four years ago; this resulted in a current rate of about 17.9 deaths per 100,000 in boys ages 15-19.
While it is important to note that the rate of suicide among young men has increased, it is also important to note that young women are actually more likely to attempt suicide than boys; from statistics, however, young men are more likely to succeed in a suicide attempt.
Risk Factors of Teen Suicide
Just as there are risk factors that can cause someone to be at a greater risk of suicide, there are risk factors that can make teenagers more susceptible to suicidal thoughts and actions. The risk factors discussed above still apply to teenagers, in addition to the ones below.
Risk Factors of Teen Suicide
- Disruptive or aggressive behavior
- Presence of and easy access to firearms (firearms are used in more than half of teen suicides)
We've just been buried in a pile of grim statistics and facts about how suicide is increasing and affecting the lives of more and more people each day. However, no matter how grim the numbers may seem, it is important to know that there is, and always will be, hope! Whether you have lost someone to suicide, or if you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal ideation, there is hope!
Hope comes from knowing and identifying the warning signs in someone, then talking to them about it. Hope comes from showing that you care and want that person to stay. Hope comes from knowing you are not alone and that you have someone who will stay by your side and work with you without judgment. Hope is being reminded that life is worth living and that you matter to others.
The National Institute of Mental Health believes that there are as many as 25 suicide attempts for every completed suicide — and that just covers the suicides we hear of. In an effort to help prevent both suicide attempts and completed suicides, Utah principal Dr. Greg Hudnall created the Hope Squad program.
Hope Squad is a school-based program that teaches students in elementary, middle, and high schools about the warning signs of suicide. This program also teaches students how to reach out to peer who they think may be struggling with mental health and suicidal thoughts. By reaching out to those around them, Hope Squad students can give others a friend to confide in and help them get started on their healing journey.
There are over 500 Hope Squad groups across the United States and Canada, and over 100 more will begin their program in 2020. Hope Squad has already seen a positive impact, reducing and sometimes even eliminating the suicides that occur in participating schools. You can help make a difference by donating to Hope Squad or purchasing a bottle of CARE, all of which profits from September 8-14, 2019 will be donated to Hope Squad.
Suicide is a growing epidemic in our country and across the globe, but it is something that we can help prevent. By learning the warning signs and risk factors, noticing them in others who are struggling, and being a friend that others can rely on, we can help spread hope to those who feel there is none left.