Robin Williams. Chester Bennington. Kate Spade. These three names share the same sad demise: suicide. People who seemed to have it all together; who "had it all". Proof that things are not always what they appear.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States per SAVE, and approximately 123 people die of attempted suicide each day. Most of these cases are due to untreated/undiagnosed mental health issues.
The CDC published an article in June stating that suicide numbers have risen 30% across the US since 1999.
LGBQT kids are 3x more likely to kill themselves than straight children, and men are 4x more likely to commit suicide over women.
Yet, there is still such a stigma with mental health/depression/anxiety/bipolar/suicide. And there is a lack of appropriate care when it comes to mental illnesses.
You used to have the ability to go into inpatient treatment for a "mental breakdown"; there were psych wards and "insane asylums". Now our mentally ill walk around begging for money or are on disability because they don't have the resources to help them get better.
I was talking to my therapist the other day about how I believe that medicinal marijuana is something that needs to be made legal. That, of course, is a topic for another day BUT I also discussed that I feel that there isn't enough emphasis on mental health care with insurance companies and providers alike. Hell, I was only able to start seeing a therapist because my boss happened to get us a Blue Cross plan that covered it. Never in my life have I had mental health coverage! Which would've been great for me as a teenager...
I don't talk about this a lot because it never became a serious issue, but I've contemplated suicide numerous times. Mostly in my late teens/early 20s. I don't feel it's something that I need to willingly share for pity or attention, but it's something that I did suffer with. I was more scared of death than my need to want to die, so luckily I never followed through. But I've definitely had those "why am I still here?", "what's the point?", "I hate my life and it's never going to get better" moments. But believe me, it can. If you work at it, and you don't succumb, it can get better. But some people are not as self-aware...and to them, it may feel like the only option. That's when it's important to look out for the signs.
There are many resources found online that help you to see the warning signs. Also, many things can be easily spotted if you're paying attention.
Big life changes, loss of loved ones, loss of a job, a failed relationship--these are all potential triggers for someone already battling depression and anxiety. When someone you care about goes through a major life change, be sure to check in on them; let them know that you care and that you're there for them.
There is also the National Suicide Hotline, which lends a listening ear to those who may not have a great support system and are having suicidal thoughts. You are anonymous and you can speak to someone who truly cares and volunteers their time to help you through whatever it is you may be going through.
One person is too many to lose due to such a preventable end. Don't be afraid to reach out to someone, be it you or them that need help. We need to end the stigma and we need to unite as a whole to help end suicide. We need to do better to expand our resources and our empathy for those who struggle differently than we do. We are all a product of our upbringing and our surroundings, our genetics and our personal morals.
Be kind; everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about...