by Welby O’Brien (Love our Vets – PTSD Family Support)
If you need to talk to someone please call Lifeline 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
I recently awoke to a comment under one of our Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support posts. It said, “I was done…ready to quit. END IT ALL. And then this post came across my feed. THANK YOU for giving me hope!” September is “National Suicide Prevention Month,” and September 10th was set aside as “World Suicide Prevention Day.” Test YOUR awareness:
- How many people die by suicide worldwide in a year?a. 22,000
- On average, how often does one person die by suicide somewhere in the world?a. Every hour
b. Every minute
c. Every 40 seconds
- How much have global suicide rates increased since 1970?a. 20%
If you guessed “C” on all three you are correct (www.suicide.org). If that is not shocking enough, try imagining just ONE of those as YOUR son or daughter or brother or sister or spouse. Or YOU? No one is exempt.
When the pain and agony of living becomes unbearable, the only way some people can see relief is by death.
Depression, loss, grief and many other mental, emotional and circumstantial challenges can afflict ANY of us at ANY time. I personally know 3 individuals who have attempted suicide recently, much to the shock of everyone. And they all happened to be teens. How can this be?
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 16% of high school students reported seriously considering suicide, 13% reported creating a plan, and 8% reporting trying to take their own life in the 12 months preceding the survey. Each year, approximately 157,000 youth between the ages of 10 and 24 receive medical care for self-inflicted injuries at Emergency Departments across the U.S.
As the wife of a Vietnam veteran who is one of millions battling PTSD 24/7, I have become keenly aware of the high suicide risk facing so many of our military members and Veterans. Suicidal thoughts or attempts are one of the many typical symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress. And as we know, PTSD can affect ANYONE, not just military. Anyone at any age.
And we also need to be aware that people of faith are not exempt. “Sadly, suicide occurs among Christians at essentially the same rate as non-Christians.” (Christianity Today, April 9, 2013)
Some typical warning signs may include talking or thinking about death, clinical depression, loss of interest, trouble sleeping and eating, increased substance abuse, putting affairs in order, talking about suicide, saying things like “it would be better if I wasn’t here,” or a sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy.
Suicide prevention sounds quite noble and politically correct. Sorry to sound skeptical, but I have wondered if it is possible to prevent suicide?
In the absence of a definitive answer, I will at least share what I think are 3 things that CAN HELP, and would be well worth the effort to at least try. Whether or not you know someone who may be at risk for suicide, or even you yourself at some time, it would be wise for ALL of us to have these 3 helpful tips on file. You never know.
Tip #1. Always Have Crisis Resources on Hand
This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, but just enough to get you started with some helpful resources and ideas. (If you know of additional resources, please e-mail me at email@example.com . Thank you.)
* Emergency, dial 000
* Lifeline 13 11 14
* Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
Tip #2. Seek Ongoing Long Term Support for the Individual
Crisis intervention can be likened to a “paramedic.” However, the afflicted soul will need ongoing professional help and support. Perhaps indefinitely. I encourage you/them to be under a physician’s care, and also a good mental health care provider.
Talk to your GP about a “Mental Health Plan” to discuss treatment options.
Tip #3. Offer Ongoing Long-Term Resources for the Family/Loved Ones
The more we can be surrounded and supported by our loved ones who are caring and helpful, the better we all do. Please remember that the special nucleus of family and friends surrounding the person who is struggling also need support for THEMSELVES. Here are a few ideas:
* Support for Suicide Attempt Survivors and Loved Ones
* LOVE OUR VETS – PTSD Family Support, LLC for loved ones of military
and veterans and others battling PTSD
Suicide prevention is not just one day or one month…but 24/7 365. Thank you for taking the time to read this and to be prepared. And even if just ONE life is spared, our efforts are ALL worth it!
Welby O’Brien – Love Our Vets – PTSD Family Support