Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Elephant in the Room: Suicide (Part 5 of 8)

September 9 through September 15, 2012
Suicide Prevention Awareness Week
Every year since 1974 ('75?), the nation has come together in a week-long campaign to help promote Suicide Prevention Awareness.  All sorts of events are held all over our country, in the hopes that the information received there will help keep even just one person from committing suicide. The idea is to draw attention to suicide prevention, suicide warning signs, reduce stigma surrounding the topic of suicide (so that more prevention happens), encourage those who need it to seek mental health assistance, and to support those who have attempted suicide, as well as those who have lost someone to suicide.

Walks are organized, screenings are done, information is handed out, and memorials are held for those who have been lost. Fundraisers collect money for research for mental health issues, and for existing suicide prevention outlets.  All of this helps coincide with what is known as World Suicide Prevention Day, which is held annually on the 10th of September. As the name would imply, this is the day that suicide prevention is recognized all over the world. 

For my small part in helping promote and spread awareness, I am posting one blog post every day this week—Suicide Prevention Awareness Week—in the hope that even one person may be saved. I have experienced loss to suicide myself (some time ago now) and find this to be a therapeutic way for me to deal with that grief.

I intend to give you as much information as I can on suicide but I also strongly encourage you to take the time to read the personal stories attached within all the facts. These are real people, with real stories that I have collected, just for this occasion. They wanted to let anyone who reads their stories to know that they are not alone in whatever they are going through. There is hope and there is help.

Thank you for stopping by to check this out. Suicide is preventable. Sometimes all it takes is for someone to spread the word, so pass this along as you see fit to. Here’s to hoping we can help save some lives.

Bullycide is a relatively "new" term for a lot of people. It simply refers to suicide as a direct result of being bullied. There have been NUMEROUS suicides in which bullying was the major player in why the victim chose to end their life. A study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) shows a significant link between peer violence/bullying and suicidal behaviors in children and young adults. In this study, students who had been threatened or physically harmed by another student were almost two and half times more likely to have thoughts of suicide, and they were a little more than three times as likely to report having suicidal behaviors than students who were not bullied in some way.

In a previous post, I mentioned 13 year old Rachel Ehmke who took her own life after extensive bullying. When I dug a little deeper I also found stories about 12 year old Joel Morales, 15 year old Lennon Baldwin, 14 year old Eden Wormer, 15 year old Amanda Cummings, and 14 year old Phillip Parker, all of whom committed suicide as a result of bullying.

I even found this very recent article about Charlotte Dawson, one of the judges from Australia's Next Top Model, and her suicide attempt after being bullied online. No one is immune from the effects of bullying and depression. No one. Though, in my research, this appears to be a phenomenon almost exclusive to children and young adults.

As with all my pictures, I found this on Yahoo. I did not make this and have no rights to it!! Thought you should know :)
Also, in my research, I noticed that bully related suicides seem to be "on the rise" with victims being younger and younger all the time. I believe this is probably due to the incessant advances in technology and how it defines our lives. The accessibility and availability of the online world is abundant today. More so, than when I was 10 or 11 years old.

I think that because these younger (7 to 13 or 14 years old) kids have things like iPads, iPhones, iPods, laptops, and game systems, to name a few, with web access as well as varying, multiple responsibilities that parent have, it is harder--mind you, I said harder NOT impossible--to monitor their activity on the web and keep children from online bullying.

There are safeguards on computers, phones, televisions, game systems, and almost any other electronic device these days that parents can utilize to help keep their children safe online. I just did a search on Yahoo! and instantly came up with these results. You can find parental control software and "How-to" manuals on using what you already have on your devices. That link I gave to the list is just a start. Do your own search, specified to your devices. It could help end bullying and possibly save a life.

In a few earlier posts in this series (Part 2 and Part 4) I gave a general list of suicide facts, definitions, and warning signs. This is all good information to have, however, knowing what may predispose someone for suicidal behavior may help you determine if someone you know IS thinking of committing suicide, or simply having a rough time. Remember, if you aren't sure, DON'T be afraid to ask the person if they are okay.

There are many things that can factor into a person being more or less likely to attempt/commit suicide. Here I have compiled a short list of these factors to share with you:

  • Family history of suicide
  • Family history of mental disorders and/or substance abuse
  • Violence/Abuse within the family (physical and/or sexual
  • History of depression or other mental illness
  • History of self-harm and previous suicide attempts
  • A romantic break up
  • The death of a loved one
  • Living in a place that has had a recent outbreak in youth suicides
  • Legal and/or financial problems
  • Feelings of being abandoned and/or rejected
  • The recent diagnosis of a terminal condition
  • Current self-harm behaviors
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Lack of Familial Acceptance of Sexual Orientation
  • Cultural and/or Religious beiefs
    • For example, some cultures believe suicide to be a noble solution to a personal dilemma
  • Barriers to mental health treatments
  • Isolation or feeling cut-off from people
  • Due to the stigma attached to mental health, suicidal thoughts
    and substance abuse disorders, many people are unwilling to seek health
  • Easy access to lethal means
  • History of being bullied by peers
  • Learn how to use parental controls to keep
    your kids safe from online bullying
    • This can happen online and/or in-person
    • This can be mental and/or physical
    • This can happen to children, young adults, and older adults
  • As I mentioned in Part 2 of this series, getting older also is a risk factor for suicide
    • Most significantly in men aged 65 and over.
    • The risk of suicide for women peaks between 45 and 54 years old and then again after the age of 75.
    • Men aged 65 and over are seven times more likely to commit suicide than women who are aged 65 and over.
"I [have] tried to kill myself two times. The first time was because I had people telling me what to do, who I could and couldn't be with, and a family member told me they were going to take my kids away from me and I didn't what to live without my kids.

I tried to take an overdose of the depression meds I was on at the time. My husband found me and got me to come to and no one knows about this. The second time, my heart was breaking because my husband and I [were] apart and a lot of things were going on at the time. I took four ibuprofen, [then] I got scared and called 911 and was taken to the hospital. After that, a cop took me home and I have not tried it again.

There are times I [still] feel like everyone would be better off without me, but I will not try anything again."   ~~Anonymous~~

***I want to say thank you, so very much, for letting me share your story. I want to let you know that I did make minor spelling, punctuation and grammar corrections (that is what some of the bracketed stuff is!).  I hope that your story will help someone else to seek help.***


I'll once again give you the information of the ASIST workshop being hosted by our local community college for anyone who is in the area and is interested in attending!!

So, if you live in the Tillamook area:
"Asist is a comprehensive suicide intervention training. ASIST is the result of more than 20 years of research and development, and is the most widely used suicide intervention program in the world. ASIST is partially funded through a federal grant targeting suicide prevention alternative.
By the end of the workshop you will know:
  • The signs of suicidal thinking
  • How to intervene to prevent immediate risk of suicide
  • The resources available in your area"

 If you are interested in attending this workshop it will be held on September 20th and September 21st from 9 am until 5 pm at Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC). Registration for attendance is required. The cost to attend is $30 per person and for Social Workers, Counselors, and First Responders there are Continuing Education Credits available for taking this workshop. If you would like to register, please take a moment to call (503) 842-8201 ext. 271.

Tomorrow I have another wonderfully talented guest blogger, Diary of a Madwoman (who lost her husband to suicide over a year ago), who is going to let me showcase some of her previous work in this series. I'll also be hitting on information about who is affected by a suicide attempt/loss. I hope you will check back to read what she has to say, and then I hope you head on over to her page and read the rest of her awesomely written posts (if you haven't done so already that is).
If you need someone to talk to, please call the number above.
There is someone one the other end who WANTS to help you.
Suicide is NOT the answer.


  1. lol I take 10 ibuprofin every time I have a headache...

    great writing again dear, can't wait for the rest. It's literally killing me that I can't just read all of it at once.

    1. ;) They will all be out soon enough my dear!! Glad you are enjoying them!


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