It is difficult to imagine the state of mind of people who contemplate suicide. More often than not we hear friends and relatives of the deceased say there were no clear warning signs. While that could be true in rare cases, most victims do give out unapparent signs. These signs are however disguised in humour or a play of words. Sometimes the signs can be as direct as ‘I want to end my life’, whereas most of the time it is more subtle like ‘Things are never going to get better. What is the point in living such a life!’ There is no simple answer to why some people commit suicide. According to Dr. Anthony P. DeMaria, PhD, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist at Mount Sinai West Hospitals in New York City, “Often, people engage in suicidal thinking or suicidal behaviors because they feel like they can no longer withstand the psychological and emotional pain that they’re currently in.”
Among reasons such as traumatic stress, substance abuse, social isolation, etc, the most common reason for suicidal tendencies is depression. Depression is more common than AIDS, cancer and diabetes combined. More than 500,000 people visit the hospital for injuries related to self-harm in the United States every year. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention statistics, suicide is already the 10th-leading cause of death in the U.S., with a 35 percent rise in the suicide rate from 1999 to 2018.
According to The Atlantic “Interviews with more than a dozen experts on suicide and mental health reveal that millennials are financially and generally stressed, and it’s driving some of them to extremes. Older millennials snapped into adulthood after 9/11, fought two wars, entered the job market during a recession, and are now weathering a global pandemic in overpriced one-bedroom apartments. They’ve experienced slower economic growth than any other generation in U.S. history, according to a Washington Post analysis. And having been clobbered by the last recession, they’re about to get clobbered again.” Especially during the current uncertain times, social isolation, economic stress, loss of loved ones unexpectedly, loss of community and religious contacts, barriers to mental health support have contributed to the ever increasing statistics.
It is important for friends and family to keep an eye and an open heart for anyone who is or might be struggling with depression. Being sad occasionally or due to a specific circumstance is common, but prolonged and pervasive sadness is a signal of deep depression causing a person to contemplate suicide. Watch out for changes where a normally outgoing person is isolated and avoids social interaction. Do not brush off any warning signs. Instead express your concern and follow up regularly. Be thoughtful and considerate when it comes to the language you use while talking to a friend in distress. Create an environment where people feel comfortable reaching out to you for help and support and are willing to share what’s bothering them—even if it’s sad, scary, or unpleasant.
According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (nami.org), suicide prevention is important to address year-round. The truth is, we can all benefit from honest conversations about mental health conditions and suicide, because just one conversation can save a life.
At Green Schools Green Future, we encourage people to talk about mental health, seek help if they find themselves in an unstable condition and provide care and concern to those who need it. We are all beings from the same Mother Earth and stand together in solidarity to love and support one another.
If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one,
the Canada Suicide Prevention Service is available 24/7 for voice at 1.833.456.4566
4pm to 12am ET for text. Send a text to 45645
Written by Kritika Rao