How very sad it is when a person can no longer cope with their life. I am reminded of the many times I passed the storefront of Kate Spade. I always felt happy looking into the window at her bright and cheery designs.
How was she able to create a collection of such colorful conversational pieces when deep within she was suffering from depression?
Sadly, I have lived through a family suicide. On January 6, 2009, my husband’s son committed suicide. A family man with three children, he, like Kate Spade, could no longer cope with life’s challenges. As a family, we may have been able to save his life if we had known the signs.
I know that some of you have suffered the same experience or know a friend, an acquaintance or a co-worker whose family has experienced suicide.
Why can’t our loved ones or friends cope and why do they choose death over life? Do they feel they are unable to come to family or friends for help? Why don’t loved ones, friends or co-workers sense a serious problem?
Furthermore, why is it that when a suicide occurs we are shocked and dismayed when it is the tenth leading cause of death? We should all understand that suicide is a health issue and that mental health treatment can prevent a suicide.
Therefore, it is up to us to learn what suicide is, who it affects and what can we do to help prevent it.
Recognize the Warning Signs
- Sudden mood change
- Giving away possessions
- Talking about death
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Failure to take care of self
- Lack of appetite
Conversation Starters That May Prevent Suicide
- I have noticed, lately, you talk about feeling hopeless. Can we talk?
- Are you thinking about suicide? (Do not be afraid to ask.)
- Do you have a weapon or prescription drugs in the house? Ask!
- I care about you, I will find help for you, and I will even go with you for help.
Conversations to Stay Away From
- “You are not thinking about suicide are you?” You do not want to indicate you want to hear ‘no’ for an answer.
- Never say out of your own fears and frustrations, “If you want to be selfish go ahead and kill yourself.” This is the most dangerous comment you can make.
- Avoid any promises of keeping secrets like, “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone. Your secret is safe with me.” Instead, say, “I care about you too much to keep a secret. I am going to help you get the proper care.”
If you feel the situation is critical, take the person to a nearby emergency room, call 911 or call the NATIONAL PREVENTION LIFELINE at 1-800-273-8255.
Many Suffer in Silence
There are so many people suffering from depression and are suffering in silence. Many people, for many different reasons, want to talk but find it too difficult.
It is up to us to learn the signs and watch for and catch the signs of suicide. It is up to us to try and protect those we love or care for.
On Sunday morning, I will share my personal story about our family suicide.
Suicide is a heavy topic to talk about, but I urge you to start the conversation. I also welcome you to share your thoughts and experiences either in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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