“I know the devastation I will leave behind. I know my child; husband and friends may never forgive me. I just can’t put into words the pain inside: Both emotional and physical. I have seen God use me even in my darkest moments. I have felt the blessing that he would choose someone as unworthy as me to reach someone in need. But I am so tired. I cannot find the hope that once gave me the will to trust in God. To really believe he will take care of me. My life and self-esteem are scattered in pieces and I cannot find the strength or courage to let God finish what was started. I am tired and alone and I just don’t want to die without knowing people will pray for my husband and child. I have a wonderful counselor who has been with me through these dark nights of my soul. He promises to stay with me until God finishes but I have taken so much and given nothing back. I am so broken. It hurts so deep inside and all hope is buried in darkness.”
Janice, whose name has been changed, sent a handful of emails asking for forgiveness for what she was about to do; take her life. She’s not alone either. Many people turn to suicide when they feel that life has given up on them or that they have given up on themselves. All people can become victim to suicide. Suicide among youth has begun to rise rapidly due to bullying. However, the factors for each particular case are diverse and complex.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, over 34,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year. Suicide is the 11th leading cause of death in the United States. It is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 18 and 65. There are four male suicides for every female suicide but three times as many females as males attempt suicide. Every 15 minutes someone in the United States dies from suicide. These statistics are frightening. So many people ask why and how could someone kill themselves. What would make them feel so hopeless that the only way out was death? Why couldn’t I save them? Before America and the world can solve the problem of suicide, they must first understand it. There is a plethora of risk factors such as psychiatric disorders and precipitating events. Typically, when someone is suicidal they show warning signs. Strong signs of depression, increase of alcohol or drug use, giving away prized possessions, and expressing a strong wish to die are all signs that someone needs help.
Over 60 percent of people who died from suicide suffered from major depression. It affects over 10 percent of Americans over the age of 18 each year. That is more than 24 million people. Among psychiatric illnesses, depression is the most treatable. Most people who suffer from depression respond positively to treatment. Almost all gain relief. However, the depression must first be recognized.
If you fear that someone may take their own life, the best thing to do is to get them professional help. Remember not to judge them. Listen to what they have to say. Most importantly, take them seriously. Many suicides could be prevented. It takes a community. A community that’s educated about suicide, that has compassion for all its residents, that is willing to lend a helping hand, that does not tolerate bullies and abusers, and that is not judgmental.
Suicide is a serious matter. Do not hesitate to save a life. For more information on suicide and suicide prevention, please visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website.