Preventing Suicide: Avoidance Isn’t the Answer

Suicide is a raw topic that most people like to avoid. The ones trapped by suicidal thoughts often feel alone and don’t talk about their feelings. People who were left behind after a loved one’s suicide are left with questions and pain, often causing them to stay quiet. Those without experience with the heartbreaking topic don’t know how to talk about it.  But the idea of avoiding conversations about suicide and everything related can be deadly, especially since according to the National Institute of Mental Health, suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers and 4,969 of those deaths were Indiana residents. 

Suicide is preventable, so how do we prevent it?  

Gage Donohue, coordinator of a Survivors of Suicide Support group who lost his 19-year-old daughter (a Jeff High graduate) to suicide, says, “We can reduce the suicide rate by encouraging people to ask for help when they need it, to educate the public about the warning signs and risk factors and let people know there are a lot of people willing to help.” 

According to Donohue, one way to prevent suicide is simply looking for signs in your friends and peers. Donohue says, “Listen to what people are saying when they are talking to you, look in their eyes, watch the body language and ask questions.  Put down your phone and really listen. Do not be afraid to ask, ‘Are you thinking about suicide?’ You will not put the idea in their head if it is not already there.” In addition to offering support, Donohue says you should encourage them to contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline or a health care professional right away.

Donohue also says that is important not to degrade or dismiss someone’s feelings or thoughts. He says that people with suicidal thoughts or depression are not weak. “People do not really want to die, they just want the mental or physical pain to end.”

Most importantly, if you feel yourself having these destructive thoughts or feelings, talk to someone. Tell your parents, your friends, a doctor, or a trusted adult. Remember that you are not alone and millions of people feel the same way. You are worthy of life and everything it holds. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline:
Call 1-800-273-8255 OR
Text CONNECT to 741741

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