Suicide Prevention Should Be More Than A Fad

September is Suicide Prevention Month, but it should be more than something people change their FB profiles to acknowledge.

Suicide is the one thing that no one wants to talk about but everyone has someone in their family or a circle of friends, who either attempted it or sadly, was successful. There’s a new phrase “unalive” I’ve heard over the last couple of years, which means to kill yourself.

One thing that we never really reported on when I was a journalist was suicides. If someone committed it, it wasn’t hardly reported unless it happened in a public place. And sadly, I must report that it happened one time at one of the schools. Another teenager committed suicide and their next of kin went through a funeral home in a neighboring county with the stipulations not to send the obituary to us.

I’m sure it was hard on the families and their friends. I can only hope that the bereaved didn’t have thoughts of suicide themselves. Sadly, it’s sometimes common for someone to commit suicide if a close friend or family member did it.

I had an aunt who committed suicide. We hardly ever talked about it, but she was still living at home when it happened and her parents, my grandparents, pretty much kept her room and personal effects the way they were. She had KISS posters on the wall. And I know some people would say that’s the problem, but it’s not so simple that you can point your finger at a hard rock band.

Many young people struggle with it. And we don’t have anything to do to prevent it. School officials don’t care. They really never have. Maybe they did in your district, but bullying was often overlooked if “Daddy’s Money” was an issue or someone was an athlete. I’m sure it’s even worse these days with cyberbullying.

I don’t know if parents nowadays are more attuned to the difficulties their children face. I just know too many Boomers and Silent Generation parents weren’t. Maybe it was people who grew up during The Great Depression and the post-WWII era felt that material possessions was the key to happiness. That’s the biggest problem Gen Xers and Millennials have faced with the generation gap.

One thing a parent should never say to their child is to tell the how bad it will make the parent feel if their child commits suicide. This is dangerous. The parent is making it about themselves and they’re guilting their child into doing something to satisfy them. This only adds fuel to the problem. This narcissism and guilt is a more than likely part of the reason the child may be having suicidal thoughts.

Also, there’s the feeling that those who feel down don’t see anyway to turn things around. As a nation, we’ve never really been able to handle mental illness the way it should be. A lot of it is caused by traumas people experienced during their formative years. Young people were abused by their parents or sexually assaulted by a relative and it was passed over. Or there was a sexual assault by a boyfriend, girlfriend, educator or athletic coach that the community covered up.

Even the abuse that was properly handled by authorities and adjudicated doesn’t wipe the slate clean for many victims. It lasts until the day they die. And unfortunately, some of them don’t want to live with it for decades.

Mental illness and those victimized by abuse usually turn to substance abuse which also can cause suicidal thoughts. And we don’t have anything to help all the people out in this country. Earlier this week, R. Kelly was finally convicted on the sex crimes he was charged with, but it isn’t on everything he reportedly did. To listen to the women describe the abuse, how was a monster allowed to operate so long even with the money and clout?

Maybe it’s because people like to cover things up.

As I’ve said in previous blog posts, we shouldn’t blame victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse for what was done to them, but we do. I don’t know how it started out that way. But it’s another thing that those over 60 seem to have assimilated into their generation lifestyles of blaming even their close friends and family for being raped or beaten within an inch of their life by their partners.

I’ll be blunt when I say this, but many people who would be considered Boomers are very selfish. I think that’s why they are so willing to blame people for actions they couldn’t control. I don’t know why they think this, but it has to be from the environments in which they were raised. Thankfully, we’re breaking that cycle.

Sadly, when you’re a victim of a sexual assault or domestic abuse, you should look to those around you for help. But when they start blaming you for other’s actions, that can lead to thoughts of suicide. You only need to look at the Boston Catholic sex scandal and how parents believed their clergy over their kids.

And that’s part of the problem. Parents will believe a school educator or administrator over their own kids. I’m proof that educators and administrators will do everything they can to see some students don’t succeed. Thankfully, this is changing a little. I understand there are some parents who won’t accept their kids make bad grades and blame the teachers. But some of the parents of the kids I grew up in expected the teachers to give their kids good grades because of their standings in the community.

But aside from what happens in their youth, people who struggle with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts can have triggers at any time in their life. I suffer from chronic orthopedic and arthritis pain. Some days, it’s hard to do simple tasks. A lot of people who also suffer from pain have committed suicide.

And the worst thing we hate hearing is how we can “do some stretching” to make it all better. Sometimes the best thing to do is nothing at all. Keep your mouth shut and your opinions to yourself on matters in which you’re not familiar. But that’s easier said than done. Everyone is an expert on something nowadays or they’re “just trying to help.”

By “helping” they’re actually hurting more. They view someone not using their “help” as an insult and that only makes matters worse. Like I said, I know everyone wants throw in their two cents.

Sadly, a lot of people who commit suicide have served in the military. You’d think all the people who always support them would be willing to support them at all times. Anyone who’s been in a war zone isn’t going to be the same. They were shot at, saw people they were close to killed or maimed. There are a lot of things they go through and when they come back, we expect them to just start back up where they left off.

We’re going to have to start admitting that people who have mental health issues aren’t freaks. They’re our family, our friends, our loved ones. They sometimes don’t connect with us on the same level. And we need to start acting as if it’s not about us. I know a few people who struggle with main depression and other mental issues.

Sometimes, they go days if not weeks without posting on social media or even responding to a text or email. It doesn’t mean they don’t love and care for us as much as we do for them, they just don’t want to talk right now. They need medicine and sometimes counseling or therapy. They don’t need someone mocking them. And quite frankly, you shouldn’t turn your back on people who need help especially if they’re close to you.

That’s how we can prevent suicides. It doesn’t need to be a fad that we say we support. We really need to start doing something. Get people in elected offices who care about it. They exploit the military for votes. They need to really support the military but the moment they enlist to when they feel so down they don’t know what else to do.

We’re never going to be able to prevent all suicides but if we start doing the right things we can keep the numbers down. And hopefully future generations will be more.

Published by bobbyzane420

I'm an award winning journalist and photographer who covered dozens of homicides and even interviewed President Jimmy Carter on multiple occasions. A back injury in 2011 and other family medical emergencies sidelined my journalism career. But now, I'm doing my own thing, focusing on movies (one of my favorite topics), current events and politics (another favorite topic) and just anything I feel needs to be posted. Thank you for reading.

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