09December

Suicide Prevention: A Goal for 2014!

Suicide is when a person ends up taking his or her own life as a reaction to a stressful life event. There are numerous reasons why someone would want to kill him or herself. At that moment, the person is not thinking rationally. It’s like they have tunnel vision or blinders on so they do not see the entire picture of a particular situation. They do not see their own true potential, nor do they have any feelings of hope for their future.

Everyone must remember that the feeling of being suicidal is usually temporary, and it will pass. When one commits suicide, it is permanent. There are usually no second chances.

Everyone usually assumes that there is a dramatic increase in the suicide rate during the holiday season; however, suicide actually seems to peak during the Spring and Fall. That is not to say that people do not commit suicide during the holidays. In the United States, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death.

When are people susceptible to committing suicide?

1) Loss

A) Death of a family member or friend
B) Divorce or relationship breakup
C) Health decline or surgery
D) Loss of a job, money, home or even self-esteem

2) Mental Health Issues

A) Depression
B) Stress or Anxiety
C) Family history of suicide or previous suicidal attempt

3) Incarceration / Institutionalization

4) Holidays or Anniversaries

Some signs and things to watch for include:

1) Sadness, despair, or feelings of hopelessness
2) Anxiety or fearfulness
3) Loss of appetite or weight gain/loss
4) Fatigue or changes in sleep habits
5) Shame or guilt
6) Performance in work or school declining
7) Decreased interest in friends, family or sex
8) Reckless behavior or increased risk taking behavior
9) Self-inflictive injuries such as cutting, bloodletting, or burns to skin
10) Saying things like “I wish I was dead” or “I am making out my will”

Oftentimes when people become aware of one or more of these behaviors in someone they care about, they are not sure what to do, much less how to talk to someone who they think may be considering suicide. Here are some suggestions:

1) Stay calm
2) Listen to the person and express concern
3) Do not leave this person alone
4) Go ahead and ask questions like: “Are you thinking of hurting yourself?”
5) “Are you thinking of suicide?”
6) “Do you have a plan?”
7) “Do you have the means to fulfill your plan?”
8) Do not take anything this individual says personally or to heart
9) Encourage the person to seek treatment with mental health care professionals and crisis centers
10) Call 911 if needed

Here are the numbers you may need in the event you discover that someone you know and love is contemplating or attempting suicide:

United States National Suicide and Crisis Hotlines:

1-800-SUICIDE
1-800- 784-2433
1-800-273-TALK
1-800-273-8255

Most people who commit suicide may show signs prior to actually doing it; but there are some who do not show any signs at all. It is not always obvious. If you are not sure if someone is suicidal or not, please do not ignore the situation or think you are overreacting because it is a friend or a loved one at stake. It is always best to err on the side of safety than to feel guilt if you just ignored the behavior.

To all those families who have had a loved one who has taken their own life, I know the pain of not knowing why they did it or wondering how you could have stopped them. For me, it was my own father.

I know the hurt, guilt, and the feelings of uncertainty suicide causes. It is all of us who are left behind that have so many questions as to why. There is an empty spot left in our hearts as we desperately try to understand why our loved one would have done this. We ask ourselves over and over again what we could have done differently or what we did wrong. There are really no answers to these questions, since your loved one is gone.

Keep in mind: the one moment in life (that fleeting moment) when he or she chose to commit suicide is not the sole representation of who this person was or how we should remember them. The truth is, we will never be able to understand what happened for them and what their experiences and thoughts were.

It is the good times and the good memories we had with that person and what they taught us that should be remembered and shared.

I am dedicated to helping others not experience what I have and not lose another person they love to suicide. I want the next person who is having suicidal thoughts to have a good chance of getting the help they need to prevent them from losing their lives.

Be alert. Be observant, and, most of all, be compassionate to all those around you. Help those around you feel that they are loved and that they matter.

Let’s take this opportunity to help save lives and make 2014 a better year for everyone we know and love!

With much respect and gratitude to all of you!

Dr. Christina

  • Posted By: DRC Editor
  • Tags: alone in holidays Christina Charbonneau Christina Goldstein-Charbonneau Dr Christina Charbonneau Dr. Christina Goldstein-Charbonneau lonely in holidays preventing suicide signs of suicide suicidal suicidal signs suicidal tendencies suicide suicide holidays suicide hotlines suicide prevention suicide rates
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