Suicide: A Preventable Tragedy
Signs to look out for and what to do when you recognize them.
Every day approximately 121 lives are lost to suicide. It is becoming more and more of a public issue because of television shows and tragic stories reported on the news daily. While shows like 13 Reasons Why does an excellent job of sparking conversation and awareness, many believe that it romanticizes suicide and will increase suicide rates. Contrary to this belief, studies show that while being exposed suicide will not “make someone suicidal,” it can increase risk for someone who is already has other risk factors present. 13 Reasons Why is extremely relatable, and while it connects to its audience well, a vulnerable person could relate to main character, Hannah Baker, so well that their suicide is seen as a viable solution to their own battles. Experts also say that the causes depicted in the show are too simplified and place blame only on peers. In reality, suicide is so much more complex. 13 Reasons Why, while incredibly engaging, may have missed an opportunity to emphasize prevention and provide more insight on the complex issues that can lead to suicide.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for individuals between the ages of 15 and 34. It is especially significant to me as I lost my own step-mother to suicide in 2015. There is no single cause for suicide, and no two individuals will have the same reasons for why they think about or attempt it. It usually occurs in conjunction with other mental health conditions like depression or anxiety, and stressors that become too overwhelming for a person to cope with. Often times they feel as though there is no other solution. What many may not understand is that when someone is suicidal, typically it is not that they want to die, it is that they want the pain and the overwhelming suffering that they are feeling to end. Even I went through a painful struggle with suicidal ideation several years ago.
The heartbreaking truth is that suicide is one cause of death that is one hundred percent preventable with proper awareness and actions. If it had not been for the actions of a couple of family members, the path I had taken could have been very different. I was depressed and feeling overwhelmed by so many things in my life all at once. I didn’t want to ask for help because I feared disappointing someone or being a burden. I had a plan, but had not decided on a time. Fortunately, my aunt reached out and offered to help me through my tough time after receiving a call from my dad (who was living in another state). I am thankful to the both of them every day. Neither of them know what I was feeling at the time, but the help they offered to me relieved several of the stressors that were plaguing me. Suddenly life felt more endurable and taking my life no longer felt like a solution to my pain.
This is the first time I have shared this, but I feel that sharing it can show just how much of a difference we can make to someone who may be feeling like taking their life just by offering to help.
  IF YOU ARE FEELING OVERWHELMED OR ARE FEELING LIKE HARMING YOURSELF OR TAKING YOUR OWN LIFE PLEASE CALL 1-800-273-8255(TALK). The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress. It also provides prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

You can also visit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website to become more involved in advocacy and prevention efforts.  

Amanda grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL but is now enjoying living in Louisville, KY. She received her bachelors degree at Northern Illinois University where she acted as a resident advisor and mentor to fellow students. This was where she found her passion for wellness and helping others. She went on to study community health and receive her Masters of Education at the University of Louisville. During her studies, she focused her graduate research on programming for mental health and youth wellness. She also acts as an advocate for mental health and suicide prevention. She has always enjoyed using her voice and knowledge to educate and advocate about important health topics. Amanda spends much of her time employed as a nanny for three wonderful children.

When she is not busy promoting health education or chasing around the kids, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, playing with her Pomeranian, Sulley, or indulging in a great book. Amanda thrives on helping to educate others about important health issues and effective health related behaviors so they can live happier and healthier lives!