Suicide continues to be a major problem is our society. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. And also the second leading cause of death for people 15 to 24 years old.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Awareness, there are on average 117 suicides in a day. “Each year 42,773 Americans die by suicide.” For every one person who commits suicide, another 25 attempt suicide.
My oldest niece posted on Facebook Thursday morning about how heartbroken she was that two of her high school friends had committed suicide. She said, “Both Nathaniel and Brendan were friends of mine and I hate that they chose to end their lives at such a young age without living to become great people they set out to be.”
Both students attended Mandeville High School and committed suicide within 48 hours.
Suicide is a very personal and sensitive subject for me on many levels. And I have become very interested and passionate about suicide awareness and prevention over the years.
When I was younger I suffered from depression and often thought about suicide. Although, I have since overcame it, it was a battle of mine for years. My niece, the one mentioned above, attempted suicide a couple years ago.
It has been a very long and tough journey for the both of us, but as she said in her post, we
“know how it feels to wanna take your life, to feel as if you have no one who cares and I had to learn that suicide wasn’t the answer.”
Also, a couple years ago a friend of mine from high school committed suicide. It caught us all by surprise. All of these incidents and situations in some way or another have sparked my passion to want to work with and help those who are suffering with depression and/or battling suicide.
It’s a subject that no one likes to talk about, but over the last decade it “has again increased to 12.1 per 100,000,” according to SAVE, Suicide Awareness Voices of Education.
So, after seeing her post, this had been on my mind all that day. Then I saw the headline on the NY Times, “‘Buddy Check on 22’ Veterans Use Social Media to Fight Suicide.” I had to read the article and couldn’t stop until I was finished.
The article’s main focus was veterans and active duty soldiers. It also focused on how they keep in touch and let the others know they are “living life.”
This “spot check” on social media happens every 22nd of the month. “The 22nd of every month is a reminder to make a suicide prevention spot-check on former comrades,” the article reads.
They use different Facebook groups with the similar name to keep in touch throughout the years and on the 22nd someone will always post something like this: “Buddy check on 22! Where are my warriors?” And one by one the veterans will check in and tell everyone what they’ve been up to.
I thought this was beyond amazing! There are so many support groups and preventions centers and things of the such, but it is always important and helpful to have people around you who know first hand what you’ve been through and what you’re going through. This is very powerful.
The Department of Veterans affairs did a study in 2012 that concluded that “an estimated 22 veterans” committed suicide in 2012. That is where the number came from. And it has appeared on social media in the form of these roll calls and the push-up challenges.
To end this post, I think it is appropriate to include some of the various contacts that there
are for people dealing with depression and/or suicide: National Suicide Prevention Life Line 800-273-TALK (8255) or 800-SUICIDE (784-2433) or 211 or 911