Depression and Suicide. Know the Signs. Help A Friend.
Have you ever been so frustrated or overwhelmed to the point where you sob uncontrollably or even lose consciousness of your physical movements? Maybe you became upset because the winged-tip of your eyeliner on your left eye doesn’t match the winged-tip on your right eye even though you spent 30 minutes carefully applying each stroke of the black liquid to your eyelids. Or maybe that cow lick refuses to cooperate no matter how much hair product you apply to that one spot. Because these things are such a big deal at that moment in time, you overreact and become so worked up you forget that these things really aren’t “that deep”. There are individuals in other places battling their inner selves on a daily basis and their battles involve much more than winged eyeliner and a cow lick. You may be wondering what things could be more serious than not having the perfectly “beat” face or the most “laid” hairstyle, so I’m here to tell you…suicide. We may know what this term means, but do we really understand the factors that lead up to this mental illness that overtakes both youth and adult people? Are we aware of the signs or even ways to prevent suicide? If not, we are here to learn together.
As celebrities are pushed to the forefront in everyday news, you may be aware of the recent suicide of fashion icon, Kate Spade. Reports have shared the possible reason Spade chose to take her own life in early June, which seems to have been confirmed in a suicide note she left her daughter, Frances. Sources have also shared that Spade’s last moments were spent joyfully, which made it seem as if everything was fine. Little did her family know, she’d finally made the decision to succumb to the worries of the world.
Unfortunately, we fail to notice, or even to acknowledge, the signs of suicide until it is too late. Young people have become comfortable with sayings such as, “kill yourself” or “kill me now” in reference to an overwhelming situation. However, these phrases should never be used, not even jokingly. We never know what’s going on in someone’s life; especially not in their heads. As human beings, we neglect to pay attention to the actions and words of our friends and acquaintances and fail to take them seriously. It’s a negative characteristic we all carry that can be fixed with simply listening and becoming aware of the signs.
Is My Age Group Affected by this Crisis?
YES. People of all age groups struggle with this mental illness everywhere. However, statistics show youth struggle and give in to this illness each day. Risk factors that contribute to teen suicide include:
- A recent or serious loss (family, friend, or pet)
- Depression, trauma, stress
- Alcohol and other substance use and/or abuse
- Struggles with sexual orientation
- A family history of suicide
- Lack of social support
- Difficulties receiving mental help or restriction from receiving such help
Some youth also send indirect cries for help through social media usernames as well as through the context of the messages they send through statuses, tweets, or snaps. We must become aware of the warning signs as well as prevent contributing to risk factors of this detrimental illness in order to prevent the rise in suicides.
How Can I Help?
- Remember that you never know what someone is going through; even if they seem to be the happiest person on the planet.
- Pay attention to negative comments about oneself or the value of life itself
- Brighten someone’s day by saying something nice! (You never know, they may have fought with their eyeliner that morning)
- Pay attention to the words one uses on social media accounts.
- BE AWARE OF WARNING SIGNS!!