Break the Silence
cALL 800-273-8255 or
text "sos" to 741741
The judgement, the stigma and the silence need to change, and let's address a few ways we can do so.
After the amazing response from my article Why Men Kill Themselves I thought this feature would make a good follow up, pushing on from the awareness its already raised.
With 650 shares, 94,338 people reached and an overwhelming amount of comments and messages, Im so inspired to continue my journey to break the silence of suicide.
But how can you help?
Share Your Story
If you answer yes to any of those questions, you can help but speaking out.
After I lost my Dad to suicide it took me 6 years to realize how my story could help others.
If I could share my story and help just one person Id be happy
When I did the response I received was mind blowing, and people around me who I thought would judge started to message me their stories and how they were affected too by suicide and depression.
The more we can openly speak about our lived experience, the better.
Share your story and your opinions with your friends, your family, post them on social media or maybe you know someone who can give you a platform to reach a wider audience?
Even if you just tell one person today it could have an impact.
The more we talk about it, the more people will think about it, and the more people will do something about it
Start by sharing your story in the comments below, or share my story:
Share The Facts (From the UK)
Factual information makes everybody listen more. Let's openly share the facts with others
Surely these facts will get people talking?
Speak About It
Mental illness isnt a character flaw. Suffering with depression doesnt make you weak. Talking about it is one of the hardest, and strongest things anyone can do. The more we start to talk about depression, the more we talk about suicide, the easier it will become.
The reason people wont talk and the reason people find it hard to open up is all down to the way we approach mental illness. We dont know what questions to ask, we dont know how to deal with it, we struggle to deal with our own emotions let alone believe we can help someone else.
Sometimes all it takes is a simple question, an interest into how someone is feeling. "R U OK?"
Many men find it harder to talk about feelings and emotions. Wed rather talk about the football last night or those girls at the bar. But support from a friend, a family member and a co-worker are at the forefront of suicide prevention. We need to talk about our own experiences alongside showing more interest in others to help them talk about theirs.
Educate From Above
The real impact comes from above, and we will start to see big changes if mental health got treated and dealt with as it is (an illness). All of the above have huge power to make change, and as things slowly shift I hope more action is taken.
Know Its OK.
The quicker we drop the stigma that suicide and depression is a weakness, the faster people will realise that depression is ok.
Its a vicious cycle. We hit a deep depression and because of the stigma surrounding mental health we think were weak, we think were weird these negative opinions of ourselves then have a damaging effect on our mind state pushing us closer to the edge of suicide.
What would happen if we knew we could overcome it? What would happen if we knew it was ok to speak about it like so many others have? Surely that vicious cycle would be broken?
Theres a lot of mental health charities doing what they can to spread awareness, so lend a helping hand and support them. From offering support to people contemplating suicide to running campaigns to help break the silence, the more support we can give them to more they can do. Donate money, volunteer, raise money doing something outside of your comfort zone. Whatever support you can give will help make change.
Here are a few I'm fond of (in the UK):
Collaborate With Others
Let's come together and help break the silence together.
Without doubt every person who reads this article would have been affected by depression and suicide in some way. If youre not, Im sure you know someone who is. Its extremely common, just look at the facts, so lets get together and help break the stigma.
Team up with friends to raise money for a charity, share your story with others, collaborate with your work to try and help educate other co-workers on dealing with mental illness, show people how they can get help
Do you know a news reporter? Someone with an influence on social media? Do you know a TV producer? A film maker?
The more we can collaborate, the better things will become.
Im going to keep pushing my story and my message in the aim to help others, so why not collaborate with me and share this post.
Let's End The Silence
Enoughs enough. The facts are
there for people to see, its time to make change. If
you resonate with this article share it, and do what you can
to help break the silence around mental health and suicide
and dont forget to reach out.
From this weeks media coverage, its clear that the stigma and misconceptions surrounding suicide are still very widespread. While we at TCR frequently talk about this issue and serve families impacted by suicide, there is often a painful silence associated with this topic until it affects a famous figure and reaches the national news.
At The Childrens Room, children, teens, and adults who have experienced a death in their family find a caring and understanding place where they can share their stories and connect with others. Nearly 10% of the families we serve have lost someone due to suicide.
Over 47,000 Americans die by suicide each year. The stigma and silence around suicide, depression, and other forms of mental illness can keep us from reaching out to ask for help or to offer support to those who need it.
Were grateful for the services Samaritans provides to our community, including the thoughts and resources they shared .
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or thoughts of suicide, please reach out to Samaritans or other crisis resources that can help.
The Childrens Room offers a
variety of programs that might be helpful to families who
have had a child or spouse die by suicide; including peer
support groups, parent educational series, individual
consultations, and referrals to other grief resources in the
area. You can contact The Childrens Room at
Student Suicide: Support and Resources for Students,
Educators, and Peers
See our Interview With Student Mental Health Expert, Lee Swain
Discussing suicide can be difficult because many people are afraid to say the wrong thing. Knowing some facts about suicide can help you approach this topic from an informed and non-judgmental place. While it certainly does not lessen the seriousness of suicide, being informed about current research and statistics can help de-stigmatize your thoughts and opinions on the topic so that you can be more knowledgeable and compassionate towards those struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, whether that be yourself or someone close to you.
The most recent data on suicide from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that:
When specifically discussing student suicide, its important to remember that college and university students are a diverse population. Though you may picture a young person, roughly between 1822 years of age, when you hear the phrase college student, there are many college students who do not fit that description. Non-traditional or adult students are among the fastest growing college demographics. Just as college students come in all ages, people of all ages and life stages experience depression and are vulnerable to suicide. College students of all ages may struggle with these mental health issues.
According to CDC data from 2017 [PDF]:
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among persons aged 1034,, the fourth among persons aged 35-54 years, the eighth among persons aged 5564 years, and the seventeenth among persons 65 years and older.
It is also noteworthy that, according to the CDC [PDF] traditonal-aged, full-time college students were found less likely to commit or attempt suicide than other individuals in their age group (1222 years). Similar percentages of 1822 year olds had suicidal thoughts or made suicide plans, regardless of their full-time enrollment in college or not.
Also noteworthy, research shows that suicidal intent is most frequently temporary. Several studies show that individuals who have survived a suicide attempt at one time are highly likely to continue living after the suicide attempt. Research notes that between 8796.5% of people who experienced suicidal ideation and attempted suicide went on to live without a subsequently fatal suicide attempt. This means that timely intervention is a critical part of saving lives.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts or self harm, call +8 (800) 273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or text SOS to 741741 (Crisis Text Line). If you are experiencing an emergency or an immediate crisis, call 911 or your local emergency number.
Warning Signs, Risk Factors, and Protective Factors (AFSP)
Remain informed of the risk factors and warning signs of depression and suicidal thoughts or feelings. As you deal with your own struggles, or as you work to help a friend, relative, or student who may be in distress, its important to rid your mind of stereotypes about suicide, depression, and mental illness. Truly anyone can suffer, and when we reinforce the stereotype of a depressed, suicidal person looking and acting only one particular way, we are likely to miss critical warning signs, misunderstand mental illness, and even hurt the people we are seeking to help.
The CDC identifies 12 warning signs that may indicate suicidal thoughts or behavior:
The CDC notes that risk factors may be different from causes. The specific reasons an individual attempts or commits suicide may not be the same as their risk factors. In addition to knowing risk factors, it can be helpful to know about protective factors, things that buffer individuals from suicidal thoughts or behaviors. Protective factors are, unfortunately, less researched and discussed than risk factors but they can be equally effective in efforts to prevent suicide.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Whether or not youve been diagnosed or treated for depression, suicidal thoughts and behaviors, or other mental illnesses, your feelings, experiences, and symptoms are real and valid. As weve noted many victims of suicide suffered from previously unknown mental health conditions. Diagnosis is an important part of identifying any risk-factors as well as connecting with care providers who can offer supportive, informed, consensual treatment.
If you would like to see a mental health professional about diagnosis and treatment for depression or suicidal tendencies, you should consider speaking with a therapist. There are several different types of therapists, and they can help diagnose your mental illness with a variety of tools, including talk therapy, diagnostic tests, and other diagnostic methods.
The treatments for depression and suicidal thoughts and behaviors are varied. Below are a few types of treatment that might help you deal with depression and suicidal urges.
Support and Advocacy Groups
The following organizations are doing work to prevent suicide and provide support to those who struggle with mental illness and suicidal thoughts or feelings:
Actionable Steps You Can Take
Though statistics and resources can be very helpful, you may be asking yourself: but what can I do? Whether you are looking for support for yourself or someone you care about, here are a number of action steps that you can take to find or provide help.
If you are struggling with thoughts or feelings of suicide or self-harm, call 8 (800) 273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or text HOME to 741741 (Crisis Text Line). If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency number.
If you are looking to support someone you care about who is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, #BeThe1To offers these action steps that you can take to help your friend, family member, classmate, or acquaintance:
Continue supporting the person in a way that is comfortable and appropriate for you. Staying in touch with someone after a crisis can make an important difference.
Additionally, if youre looking to address suicide from a broader perspective, perhaps on your campus, in your community, or even state- and nation-wide, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers these suggestions for different government agencies, groups, and individuals. Collective action can make our communities safer and more supportive for those struggling with mental illness, in turn preventing suicide and providing help for people in need.
Government agencies can:
Healthcare systems can:
Student suicide is a critical but
difficult-to-discuss topic. We encourage you to take action
where appropriate. Dont be afraid to start a
conversation with someone you know, share the infographic on
scripts to help communicate about suicide, or research
suicide at your school or in your community. Most
importantly, if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts,
depression, or self harm, do whatever you can to get help.
If you need to speak with someone immediately, call 8 (800)
273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Lifeline) or text
SOS to 741741 (Crisis Text Line). If you are
experiencing an emergency, call 911 or your local emergency