Suicide: A Fight We Can Win

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Losing a loved one can be devastating and when it is someone who died unexpectedly, the pain can be even worse. Suicide is tenth leading cause of death in the United States. It kills tens of thousands of Americans every year and has been the second highest loss in the lives of teens and young adults for the last decade. 

Every nine hours a loved one in Indiana dies by suicide. In Indiana, approximately one in ten teenagers will attempt suicide while. Last year alone, suicide killed almost 45000 Americans. 

This statistic is slowly on the rise, with 2015 claiming roughly a thousand less. In 2014 the number was down to 42000. According to the CDC, there has been roughly 575,000 suicides since the year 2000. 

Financially, suicide roughly costs communities $44 billion every year nationwide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In Indiana alone, around $1 billion is spent due to suicide. This includes attempts that are stopped by paramedics along with postmortem care for those who die by suicide.  

Suicidal thoughts are not a trend that affects only one race, gender or economic status. It is a problem that affects society as a whole and anyone who feels this way are not alone. In Indiana, one in five teenagers have contemplated suicide.

Out of all 50 states, Indiana has the highest number of students who have contemplated suicide. Indiana also is the second highest number of students who actually attempt suicide, with one in nine students attempting at some point in their student careers. On average, for every 25 suicide attempts there is at least one death by suicide. 

The cause for a student to feel suicidal can vary from teen to teen. Moving, a stressful school situation, parents divorce or a family member’s death can put someone in a deep depression that bring them to feel life is not worth living. 

No matter the reason someone wants to end his or her lives, it is a serious issue that requires both tact and support. If someone is feeling suicidal, do not leave the person alone, remove all firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects from the household. Removing any sort of weapons limits the opportunity to do anything rash. Call the U.S National suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK(8255) or call the police, who can send an ambulance for the person in need. Even if the suicidal individual states that being sent somewhere will cause him or her to want to kill themselves more, the fact of the matter is that being in the hospital will put them into the safest hands possible, and they would be able to receive the help they desperately need. Many parents and fellow students, however, are unable to know when a student is suicidal, with many of the obvious signs going unnoticed.

To combat this, Community North and WTHR have teamed up, creating the website, a teen suicide awareness movement for Indiana. The movement hopes to increase information that youth and parents have available to them, believing that having more knowledge on the subject will lower the number of suicides. 

“We all play a part in recognizing the potential for it in students or in youth in general,” said David Petersohn, an Indiana teacher who once taught at Stonybrook Middle School, who now works with the Have Hope Movement. Petersohn urges all parents and educators to keep open to the signs and look out for even the smallest of signs, because finding the smallest of signs could be the difference between a student’s life or death. 

The movement offers a simple test that allows people to get a general idea for where they land on the spectrum of depression, stories of people from different perspectives on how they have dealt with suicide and even provides a locator for the nearest mental health facility. 

Suicide is never the answer, and even when life seems hopeless and that no resolution is in sight, there is always a support system in place. Whether it is a trusted teacher or a counselor, a peer or a family member, the environment is full of people who are ready and able to help someone through it. Suicide claims a life every nine hours, but with proper awareness and the knowledge on how to handle a situation, suicides can be stopped and the lives of those who would be claimed by it can be saved.