Liddle: September is Suicide Prevention Month
It’s incredible how fast this year is flying by. So much has happened it iss to keep up with it all. It is already September, the month nominated as “Suicide Prevention Month.”
Lately we hear about rampant deaths due to drug overdoses; and we feel compassion and sadness for those who had become dependent on drugs and had lost their way. There are many more ways to lose one’s way, such as stress, worries and depression, to just name a few.
I think we all experience these kinds of situations at some point in our lives and cope with it in one way or another. And sometimes, when living seems to be just too much to bear, we might even have thought to end it all ourselves.
The idea of suicide becomes a temptation that many people overcome, but some are so hopeless that they cannot resist the temptation. I see suicide as an act of desperation and feel sad when a person lost hope and could not believe that there are most often solutions possible for even very difficult, painful situations.
Yes, there is not always a “good” solution as we had hoped for and one has to give up sometimes something valuable in order to regain some control over what had lead to such hopelessness.
When reaching the deepest point of hopelessness where suicide seems to be the only solution, some people reach out directly for help and others indirectly.
The direct approach would be calling the Suicide Help Line (800-273-8255), enrolling in psychotherapy, consulting with a psychiatrist, and/or joining a support group, such as NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness)Winchester-Clark County. This group, for example, is designed to help/support people who are mentally and/or emotionally vulnerable, and also family members and friends are welcome. Meetings are free and more information is available at www.NAMI.org.
The indirect way of reaching out for help often happens when the person who considers suicide mentions her/his intentions apparently casually or talks to a trusted person.
It is important to acknowledge the severity of the emotional situation that the suicidal person is experiencing, rather than dispute the legitimacy of their feelings. Listening carefully and letting the person know that she/he is understood, giving sensible feedback and engaging in a meaningful conversation are helpful ways to provide comfort and support.
There are many common myths about suicide:
— Suicide happens without warning. Not true. Most suicidal people see themselves as not belonging or a burden to others.
— People who talk about suicide are not serious about killing themselves. Not true. Talking about suicidal thoughts is often an attempt to reach out for help and support, and should be taken seriously.
— Suicidal thoughts and behaviors are ways to get attention. Not true. For most people this is another way to reach out for help and support and should also be taken seriously.
— Suicide cannot be prevented. There is a good chance to stop someone from committing suicide by showing her/him how and where to get help; a caring, concerned individual can help someone in distress.
As we feel compassion for those who committed suicide, we also feel compassion for those who loved them and are left behind to deal with the loss.
Some few days ago I found the following interesting words of wisdom words on social media.
“Today was the absolute worst day ever
And don’t try to convince me that
There’s something good in every day
Because, when you take a closer look,
This world is a pretty evil place.
Some goodness does shine through once in a while
Satisfaction and happiness don’t last.
And it’s not true that
It’s all in the mind and heart
True happiness can be obtained
Only if one’s surroundings are good
It’s not true that good exists
I’m sure you can agree that
It’s all beyond my control
And you’ll never in a million years hear me say that
Today was a good day.”
Now read from bottom to top.
NAMI Winchester-Clark County support groups meet every first and third Monday each month at 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Emmanuel Episcopal Church’s McCready Hall, 2410 W. Lexington Ave. For more information call 749-3702.
Jutta Kausch Liddle, PhD., is a board member of NAMI Winchester-Clark County.