In Our Opinion
The death of comedian Robin Williams sparked many pleas for people to seek help if they feel like they want to take their own life.
Everyone, from children to adults, experiences some sort of depression. Getting through it depends on the depth, how they handle it and if they have someone to reach out to people who have gone through some of the same traumatic experiences as others, yet they find a reason to live.
But there are those who go the other route and when we learn that someone close to us took their life, you feel like you should have seen or heard signs that they were in pain. It makes you wonder what the factors were that led them to believe their final action was a good idea.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide rates decreased by 12.5 percent between 1990 and 2000. Over the next 10 years, the rate generally rose. In 2011, 12.3 deaths per 100,000 were by suicide.
Just about everyone knows someone who has committed suicide or knows someone affected by it.
Although Williams’ passing sparked a rise in calls to crisis hotlines and suicide prevention, we feel this is a subject that should be discussed within the community.
There can be several catalysts that can lead to suicide. For some people, it’s grief for a loved one they lost.
For others, they are diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. They feel their body starting to slip away and they decide they want to go out on their own terms rather than live long enough to succumb to their illness. They also do not want to be a burden on family and friends.
Others take their own life because they’ve been hurt by someone. They want to make the ones who hurt them feel their pain.
You almost never know when and why someone is struggling because the signs might not always be obvious. You don’t know what’s going on in a person’s mind.
Sometimes we’re caught up in our own lives. When we do talk to someone, we listen to reply and insert ourselves into the conversation, instead of trying to understand what they’re going through. Unfortunately, you never learn the answer until it’s too late. You don’t get a second chance to ask “why?”
Even if someone reaches out for help, it’s still a hard issue to discuss — especially for men — because it portrays weakness and puts them in a vulnerable position. While society portrays weakness in a negative light, being vulnerable can be healing.
But who can we talk to? There are professionals and support groups that are willing to help anyone who reaches out to them. Speaking with people who tried to commit suicide and lived might give someone the strength they need to live on.
By talking with families affected by suicide, we could learn what some of the signs are.
At home, parents sould talk about suicide with their children. Even if their child isn’t suffering from depression, it’s still a matter that should be discussed, especially if their child is a teenager who is going through a rough transition such as attending a new school or experiencing a break up.
We can use this time to reach out to the rest of your friends and family to let them know that you are there for them.
And if you are having suicidal thoughts or just need someone to talk to, there are crisis hotlines. The National Suicide Prevention hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). EWU students can call the Health, Wellness and Prevention Services at (509) 359-4279.
Veterans can call the Veteran Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255.
You are not alone and there are people who want to help.