September 9-15, 2018 is National Suicide Prevention Week. DeKalb County Online wants to make people aware of what they can do to help prevent suicides.
What is the scope of the problem?
The World Health Organization estimates that around 800,000 people die from suicide each year.
The focus on suicides in the news lately has been with children committing suicide after being bullied by peers, such as the 9-year-old boy from Colorado who killed himself just weeks ago, and suicide among military veterans.
In a study that included data from 2005-2015, conducted by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, it was reported that, on average, over 16 veterans committed suicide per day, which amounts to 6,132 veterans per year.
Locally, according to a 2017 article from the NIU Newsroom, around 40 percent of students who visited the NIU Counseling and Consulting Services had considered suicide, and around 13 percent of those had tried to kill themselves.
Why do people commit suicide?
“People who take their lives don’t want to die—they just want to stop hurting.”
According to experts on this topic, people who commit suicide are suffering so badly that it seems unbearable for them to continue. The suffering could be physical, psychological, and/or social in nature. Suicide then appears to be the only way for the person to escape their suffering. The victim often struggles with feelings of self-loathing, hopelessness, and isolation. These feelings may be the result of a physical or mental illness; the death of a loved one; financial woes; public disgrace; or post-traumatic stress associated with military combat, rape or imprisonment (Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D., Psychology Today).
Some argue that suicide is an attempt by people who are suffering and feeling powerless to assert some control over their lives by determining when and how it will end.
What are some warning signs of a suicidal person?
- Talks about committing suicide
- Has trouble eating or sleeping
- Exhibits drastic changes in behavior
- Withdraws from friends or social activities
- Loses interest in school, work or hobbies
- Prepares for death by writing a will and making final arrangements
- Gives away prized possessions
- Takes unnecessary risks
- Has recently experienced serious losses
- Seems preoccupied with death and dying
- Loses interest in his or her personal appearance
- Increases alcohol or drug use
What can you do to help?
- Get them to talk about it. Help them open up about what they are feeling.
- Let them know that you care about them and you are there for them.
- Convince them to hang in there one more day, week, etc.
- Seek out professional help.
- Support suicide crisis centers: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/our-crisis-centers
Where can you go for help?
Suicide Prevention Services of America, located in Batavia, IL, is a great resource for getting help for yourself or loved ones: http://www.spsamerica.org/
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
Locally, Project Seth is a non-profit organization started in 2014 by the parents of Seth Bartosik, a 2012 DeKalb High School Graduate from Cortland who took his own life at the age of 20. Their mission is “to help reduce and ultimately eliminate suicide in young adults.”
Getting Help In a Crisis: https://projectseth.org/getting-help/#comment-14
We will have an article about Project Seth later in the week. In the meantime, check out their upcoming fundraising event: