#Suicide – it’s not an easy topic to bring up. Most often, there’s a #stigma attached to any talk about someone taking their own life.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
But #suicide is a reality in our society. And the statistics on #suicide in the United States are so startling and even more so in New Mexico that we all should be well aware and encourage a community-wide conversation about #suicide and how to prevent it.
• The incidence of #suicide in New Mexico has consistently been 50 percent higher than the national average – or 23 people per 100,000 population, according to 2017 data from the New Mexico Department of Health.
• In New Mexico, it’s the second-leading cause of death among 10-to-34-year-olds, and fourth-leading cause of death for ages 35-44.
• #Suicide rates continue to rise, especially among our youngest residents: ages 10-24 have a rapid increase in #suicide rates with those under age 20 registering the highest.
• New Mexico has one of the highest rates of veteran suicide in the country — 59.8 per 100,000 people, compared with 38.4 nationally, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.
The causes of #suicide are many and complex: trauma or conflict, recent loss, family history of #suicide, personal history of #suicide attempts, #mentalillness or substance use. Most suicides have multiple precipitating conditions such as #depression, intimate partner problems, sexual assault, active duty military trauma, serious health conditions, financial or legal problems and exposure to someone else’s #suicide or sensationalized accounts of #suicide.
Because there’s often a link between past interpersonal trauma and suicidality, Community Against Violence helps people who have experienced sexual/domestic violence and child abuse. Often, they include childhood traumas of abuse, violence and neglect that have stayed with them into adulthood.
Sometimes people talk of feeling worthless or hopeless, or that their abusive/controlling partner is threatening #suicide. (Suicidal threats in a domestic violence relationship is a serious red flag and “familicide,” where an abuser kills his family and himself, is correlated with domestic violence and the availability of firearms.)
September is #NationalSuicidePreventionAwarenessMonth, an effort to heighten awareness of this serious issue and its potential causes. One of the most effective aspects of preventing suicide is to recognize warning signs. Whether you’re a friend, family member, teacher or acquaintance, you can help prevent #suicide. Take action if you notice someone:
• Talking about wanting to die or looking for a way to kill oneself;
• Talking about feeling hopeless or having no purpose, feeling trapped or in unbearable pain;
• Talking about being a burden to others;
• Increasing use of alcohol or drugs;
• Acting anxious, agitated or reckless;
• Sleeping too little or too much, withdrawing or feeling isolated;
• Contacting others to say goodbye;
• Giving away important possessions;
• Showing rage, talking about seeking revenge or displaying extreme mood swings;
• Sudden improvement or relief from #depression.
Help is available, both for people in crisis and allies who want to help. Call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline: (800) 273-TALK (8255), or Text START to 741741 to text chat. If you’re a veteran, call that same phone number and press 1.
If you’re concerned about someone, talk to them directly. Ask if they’re feeling #depressed or thinking about hurting themselves. Don’t argue with them but let them know you care, and they can talk to you. Having someone who cares and supports them getting professional help can help them begin the process of getting their life back on track to a future of hope and safety.