September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Oftentimes forgotten about, suicide is an incredibly serious and important topic. While it can be difficult to talk about suicide, it’s imperative that we do so – especially during this time of awareness. I, along with many others, am a person who has been affected by suicide. Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by it, suicide is a painful, unpredictable, and terrifying occurrence.
Sometimes it takes a celebrity to bring mainstream attention to serious topics. Take the tragic death of Robin Williams. Even though his fans didn’t know him personally, they were all incredibly saddened and shocked when his death was announced. It sent such a shockwave through social media that people were even going as far as to call people they knew in order to check and see if they were at risk. While it was in no way worth losing him, Williams inspired many to help raise awareness of depression, suicide and suicide prevention.
This isn’t a passing problem, of course, and even when it is not being widely discussed in the news, it is present in your community. There are many startling statistics about suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), the 10th leading cause of death in the USA is suicide. Nearly 45,000 people die each year, and, on average, there are 123 suicides a day. This is why it is so incredibly important to be aware. Thankfully, there are many ways we can band together and help lower these statistics. There are many different awareness and support groups out there that you can join or donate to (such as AFSP). Even just talking to someone you know that you think might be at risk could help.
There is an unfortunate myth that talking to someone about suicide may give them the idea to do it – this is entirely untrue. The first thing someone at risk needs is the ability to talk to someone about what they’re going through. Sadly, the entire reason that the person that I knew passed away was because no one was there for him in his time of need. If someone had been there to talk about his feelings, he probably would have still been here today. There is no more time for “if’s” though: I believe right now the best thing we can do is put our thoughts and good intentions into action. It may be hard, daunting, and even just downright terrifying just to think about, but we owe it to those we love. Let’s fight this thing.