Speak up, seek help

Be aware of the signs of suicide

I’m writing about something not many people like to talk about, and that subject is suicide.

This week is Suicide Awareness Week, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Why would I write a column about this often-taboo topic? Well, it’s important to be aware of. Every 40 seconds, someone in the world dies by suicide.

For my internship this summer, I was required to take a workshop by LivingWorks, an organization that trains people to recognize the signs of suicide. The workshop was called “ASIST” (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training). That training changed my life.

Two years ago I lost my father to suicide. Then, less than a month later after I took the ASIST training, my grandfather died by suicide as well. Losing a loved one to suicide is one of the toughest, saddest situations to deal with, let alone losing more than one loved one.

I believe it is very important that individuals know what signs to look for when it comes to those considering suicide. Key signs include withdrawal from family, friends and interests, giving away possessions, severe depression, sleeping problems, poor appetite, saying phrases like “Life isn’t worth living anymore,” risky behaviors such as constant use of alcohol or drugs, and participating in reckless activities.

Anyone can be at risk for suicide. If you or anyone you know is showing the signs of suicide, please seek help and talk to someone – a close friend, parent, mentor, or doctor. There is also a suicide hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The counseling center here on campus will help; they can be contacted at ext. 5968.

Always remember: suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. The ripple effects after the victim’s suicide will forever change many lives. Do not ever feel afraid or ashamed to let someone know if you have thoughts of suicide. Speaking up can save your life or the life of another. There is a better way.