Ten percent of people you see have in some way tried to commit suicide.
Suicide is a massive problem. If you haven’t thought about killing yourself, chances are you know someone who has. For example, within a typical high school classroom, it is likely that three students (one boy and two girls) have made a suicide attempt in the past year. Think about that for a moment the next time you are in a classroom or perhaps in the cafeteria at work. Look around and realize that probably ten percent of people you see have in some way tried to commit suicide. They feel overwhelmed and see suicide as their only option out.
Jess has those very feelings: “I have considered suicide many times in my life. I am bipolar and when I get really depressed I want to kill myself. Life also becomes overwhelming with school and things going on at home.”
Every 2 hours, a person under the age of 25 commits suicide.
Let’s look at it another way. Every 2 hours, a person under the age of 25 kills him or her self. In most cities on Sunday nights, my radio show Dawson McAllister Live goes for two hours. Sometimes just after the show I say to myself, “While the show was going on, some teenager or young adult across America went ahead and committed suicide. I am deeply thrilled that my show and our off-air HopeLine has saved thousands of people from killing themselves. Yet I am still haunted by the many we could not prevent. It goes without saying, suicide is a big deal. Once you are successful at it, there are no second chances or turning back.
Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
I wish this wasn’t the case. That’s why I’m doing a blog series about this life and death issue. If somehow I can help one person to turn away from suicide, it will all be worth it. Maybe it will be Jess, or the person who emailed me anonymously: “I struggle with suicide. I just need some help.” Or maybe that someone is you.
There is a lot of confusion about suicide and what causes it. But this much I do know:
- Suicide is preventable. Most suicidal individuals desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems.
- Suicide never just comes “out of the blue.” There are always personal reasons for the feelings.
- Every suicidal person desperately needs someone to listen to them.
- Most suicidal individuals give definite warnings of their suicidal intentions.
- There is no such thing as “a lost cause” when someone is suicidal.
- It helps to talk about suicide, and the personal reasons behind it.
- If someone you know commits suicide, it’s not your fault.
There is no such thing as “a lost cause.”
As Roiselyn wrote: “We need to find ways among ourselves to prevent suicide from happening, not just leave it to ‘experts’ or therapists.” She is right. Experts can certainly help, but most suicidals turn to their friends for help first. That is why this blog series may be the most important blogs I have ever written. So please stay with me as we tackle this horrific and tragic act—suicide.
Next week, I’m going to write about some of the different reasons why people kill themselves. Please write to me and tell me your story of why you thought suicide was the answer. What was it that caused you to think about suicide? What have you done to overcome those horrific thoughts? Thank you for sharing your stories with me.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact my HopeLine at
1-800-394-4673 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
02-12-2010 3:00 AM