With help comes hope for those in need
I’d be lying if I said I’d never wondered what would the world be like without me in it.
Those thoughts have usually come during some weak moment when I’ve felt defeated and overwhelmed.
Lack of money, lack of faith and lack of self confidence have, at times, caused me to feel as if I was being buried alive by my inadequacies and inabilities, drowning in a sea of insecurities.
Don’t get me wrong. My lack of faith was never in my Lord.
On the contrary, it is my faith in His love and grace that pushes those dark thoughts away. But a lack of faith in myself and my ability to overcome adversity can sometimes weigh heavy on my heart and it makes it difficult to see the Son’s light.
I’m thankful those thoughts are few and far between and I have family and wonderful friends to lean on for support when I’m stumbling along life’s pathway.
Not everyone is so fortunate.
September is National Suicide Prevention Month.
Someone in the United States takes their own life every 13 minutes, according to statistics by the Center for Disease Control. It’s the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages, but did you know that it’s No. 2 for ages 10-14, 15-25 and 25-34, second only to unintentional injury in all three age groups?
It’s shocking to note that 425 children as young as 10 years old died at their own hands.
Not surprisingly, that number skyrockets to 5,079 teenagers and young adults age 15 to 24 who killed themselves and an even higher number — 6,569 died by suicide who were age 25 to 34.
Depression is the leading cause of suicide worldwide.
The CDC also reports that suicide among males is four times higher than among females. They represent 79 percent of all suicides in the US. But strangely enough, females are more likely than males to have had suicidal thoughts. And they try to kill themselves three times as often as males.
What this means is that females think about it more and try, but aren’t successful in their attempt.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Do you or someone you know need someone to talk to?
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours every day at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
The website is suicidepreventionlifeline.org. There’s an online chat option as well.
During the month of September — like every other month — they are spreading the message that healing, hope and help can happen.
So how do you help someone you suspect could be considering suicide?
The website offers these five tips to save a life.
1. Don’t be afraid to ask the tough question. When someone you know is in emotional pain, ask them directly, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
2. If your friend is thinking about suicide, ask if they’ve also thought about how they would do it. Separate them from anything they are thinking of using to hurt themselves.
3. If your friend is thinking about suicide, listen to their reasons for feeling hopeless and in pain. Listen without judgement and with compassion and empathy.
4. Help your friend connect to a support system so they have others to reach out to for help — family, friends, a pastor, coaches, co-workers or a therapist.
5. Making contact with a friend in the days and weeks after a crisis can make a difference in keeping them alive. Check in with the person you about on a regular basis.
You could be the lifeline for someone who is sinking. With help comes hope.
Donna Campbell is managing editor of The Daily Leader. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.