by Ashley Grimes
During my sophomore year of college, I woke up to get ready for our 6 AM Lacrosse practice. The whole morning was weird ever since I woke up, I forgot things that I needed for practice, my stomach did not feel well, and I just had one of those gut feelings that the day was going to be off. Eventually, I got everything together that I needed for practice, and my roommate, and I headed to the stadium. When we got there, all my teammates were quietly getting their cleats on, getting ready to practice, it was giving me a weird vibe. We started stretching and I noticed that one of my teammates was not there and she was always on time. At the same moment that I realized she was missing, so did my Coach. She asked if any of us had heard from her, but the answer was, no. We then started our first drill and simultaneously my coach received a phone call and ran out of the stadium. The team continued to practice wondering what was going on and it was not until later in the afternoon that we found out our teammate had attempted suicide earlier that morning.
Unfortunately, suicide has become an easy way out for many teens, and it is one of the most common forms of death (1). There are increasing rates in mental health I know at least four people in my life that have thought about, attempted, or completed suicide. It is the second leading cause of death in people that are 16-24 years old (1). Although attempted, not all attempts are successful, but they should never have to get to that point and that is where the lack of education and awareness on the problem, comes in (2). Often, red flags are overlooked or joked about instead of people having a conversation (3). Before this incident occurred, I did not know the common signs that are red flags in a suicidal person and a lot of other people do not know them as well (2). The most common red flags in a suicidal individual are feelings of hopelessness, anger, feeling trapped, increased alcohol consumption, withdrawal from others. mood swings, threatening to kill themselves, and writing about death (3).
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention holds various events such as walks, biking marathons, speakers, etc. to help bring awareness to the problem (1). They also have multiple resources for people that have attempted suicide, are thinking about it, or know someone who has (1). The organization is known for the walks they hold annually that give individuals the courage to speak out about their connections with suicide and suicide prevention (1). They also hold ceremonies at the walks to provide information about the importance of mental health (1). There are personal stories on the website of success and unfortunately failures but with the failures, more knowledge was gained (1). In a lot of the fatal stories, the loved one that provided the information also mentions how AFSP has impacted them in a good way and that they are now bringing this problem to light and getting involved in various events (1). These resources include everything from articles on the website to personal stories and 24/7 lifelines for individuals that need to talk (1).
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, reach out to someone. You do not need to do this alone, so many people care about you and would care if you were not here. Do not do the permanent solution to a temporary problem. There are so many organizations and resources that are available 24/7, so never feel like you have no one to turn to, there is always someone. If you know someone that is having suicidal thoughts, talk to them, let them know they are not alone, and suggest talking to a professional. Reaching out and getting help is the hardest part because often it feels as though you are becoming a burden on someone else’s life and putting your problems on someone else, but everyone needs help no matter how strong they may be. Make sure to reach out to your loved ones, friends’ families, and even people you do not know, all it takes is simple, how are you really doing, that could change someone’s life. If you need more resources or want to donate to this amazing organization, visit the AFSP website http://www.afsp.org.
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- UTMB Health
- The Atlantic