The Face of Suicide

IMG_0742In recent months, the world has lost some big names to suicide including Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain. While it’s likely none of us reading this blog knew either of them personally, I’m certain some of us took pause and felt some emotion about the news. My son, 16 years old, lost a classmate to suicide recently. I could tell he struggled with trying to understand what happened and I wasn’t sure how to respond to his sadness.

I’m approaching the anniversary of the #death of a dear friend I lost to #suicide.  I still can’t believe she’s gone. I have our text messages that we exchanged just 14 days before she left this earth. I read them from time to time wondering if I could have done more. Wondering if I missed the biggest clue in our last exchange, “I’ve had a little rough patch the last few months.” She texted. I extended an olive branch in the form of being available to talk or being her place of refuge. Then I received the news. She was such a beautiful, caring sole who gave so much to so many. She smiles back at me everyday when I look up at her picture on the wall in my office. I miss her like I miss the others that I’ve lost to suicide.  Yes, she’s not the only one.

September 9-15 is National Suicide Prevention Week and today, September 10th is World #Suicide Prevention Day. In 2016, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the US. According to the American Association of Suicidology,  ‎@AASuicidology acute warning signs of suicide are:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or talking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself; and or,
  • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means; and/or,
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide, when these actions are out of the ordinary.

There are expanded warning signs that are more covert (for expanded warning signs click here). Bottom line, you or someone you know may need help. If you or someone you know are at risk of suicide call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to speak with someone. There is help.

My thoughts, reactions, feelings and beliefs about suicide have evolved over the years. Even as a healthcare worker, I was ignorant. I can admit that. I’m so glad that I have learned and know what actions to take to help someone who may be considering suicide. I didn’t make a difference in my friend’s situation but I will strive to do more going forward. I am no expert but I have been affected by suicide. Take time to learn more.

If you have a story to share that will help in your healing, feel free to do so.

Loving each of you because you are all worthy to be loved.

-KC

 

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