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The Suicide Epidemic

I am beginning a series of articles addressing the issue of SUICIDE. I will especially look at teen suicide, but this issue knows no age boundaries. You will become better informed regarding suicide. The CDC reports suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death for ages 15-24 and 4th leading cause for ages 10-14. That is alarming. It’s the 11th leading cause of death in North America. Every 16 minutes an American commits suicide affecting at least 6 other people intimately. These statistics don’t count for those who attempted suicide and failed or had intentions of committing suicide. It is a serious public health problem. Teenager Kim writes: “I almost killed myself tonight. I don’t want to die but I see no other way out.” Lori, a 14 year old Christian wrote to her mom: “You kept asking me if I was okay and I kept telling you I was, but I wasn’t. I’m sorry mom. I’ve got too many problems. I’m taking the easy way out.”

Today’s teenager has a death wish like never before in history. Suicide touches all ages, ethnic groups,genders, occupations, geographic areas, every level of society, the poor to rich.Suicide prevention, intervention (getting involved in someone’s life) is everyone’s responsibility, especially the Christian. We’re responsible to do what we can to help save someone’s life.

People contemplating suicide usually exhibit warning signs and symptoms. If you know what they are, you can detect a suicidal person and help. Being aware of the risk factors, the signs and symptoms, are critical in helping prevent a suicide. It’s not enough to recognize them, you must be willing to act. Most suicides can be prevented detected and acted on early enough. Another concern is postvention, helping those who survive someone else’s suicide. I will attempt to equip you with the basics you need to know for intervention, prevention and postvention in the coming issues.

First, what is the definition of suicide? It’s a conscious act, a deliberate act of self-annihilation, dying by your own hand because the pain you feel is greater than then pain of death. A suicidal person becomes convinced death is the ONLY way of escape. Some call it a selfish act. They claim when a person commits suicide they’re not thinking of anyone else but themselves. They’re only thinking of escaping their overwhelming pain. This is not completely true. Some think by dying, they actually will help someone be free from the problem they think they are to someone else. The big issue is intervention, prevention and postvention.

Stay tuned for Myths About Suicide in the next issue.

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