Did you know that suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States? It is the second most common cause of death in adolescents. Caucasian men over the age of 80 have a high suicide rate. More men commit suicide, but more women attempt it. It is a world wide crisis.
In ancient Athens a person who committed suicide was denied a normal burial. It was illegal to commit suicide in most Western Countries until after the 1800's. I'm not sure how they penalized the person who accomplished this task.
In almost all forms of Christianity, suicide is considered a sin. This is based upon the commandment "Thou Shalt Not Kill." However it is also believed that mental illness or great fear of suffering diminishes the responsibility of one who accomplishes suicide. I feel that God is the only judge. He will judge. Not I. He will forgive!
Today, September 10, is World Suicide Prevention Day. There is a campaign, Take 5 To Save Lives, that is doing the job of helping people take five minutes to become informed and involved in saving lives. The campaign lists five steps we can take right away to save lives. The first step is to know the warning signs:
Warning Signs for Suicide Can Include:
- Disrupted sleep
- Loss of interest in activities
- Extreme self-denial, lack of pleasure
- Extreme self-hatred
- Feelings of not belonging
- Thinking of self as a burden to others
- Sudden positive mood change
- Suicidal talk
My dad often talked about killing himself. My mom tried to get help for him. She was repeatedly told this: "People who threaten to commit suicide often do not. They just are seeking attention." I am here to tell you that is NOT TRUE! Those very people, who told her those words, had to live with that after he died. But that was during a time when suicide was not talked about. It was not understood. And we did not know how to help those seeking help.
If you or someone you know is in crisis or in need of immediate help, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255). This is The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, a free hotline available 24 hours a day to anyone in emotional distress or suicidal crisis.
I hope everyone will take five minutes today to educate themselves on suicide and what you might be able to do to save someone's life. A person who has exhibited all the symptoms of depression and self-hated and suddenly has a shift to a positive mood is at the greatest risk. It does not mean they have changed their mind. It means they have decided all the details and now have a plan to commit the act. Will you help? Will you take the steps needed to educate yourself today?