In 2011 a reported 4822 preventable deaths occurred by youth between the ages of 15 -24. Many ask why and reasonably so, human nature began answers? These are are the future, the hope of many and when one is lost, it is earth-shattering to everyone and even those that did not know the precious child personally.
Data for 2015 indicates a rise at 5491 reported deaths by suicide with an increase from 16.3% in 2001 and now at 18%. The need for change is significant. What will you do to contribute to awareness and solution?
There has been an alarming increase in how young children are engaging in self-harm behavior. These are early indicators to seek help in finding the roots of what is causing such pain. Detrimentally, depression is a condition very few people are willing to address openly. It does take courage to push through the fear of embarrassment, shame, stigma, and any other social more that has detrimentally cost too many lives. When a conversation leads to a discussion of self-harm, it is a big flag that coping behavior “SCREAMS” a need for help and skills in how to navigate the pain and thoughts of harm. Get help by calling a suicide hotline any time you have a concern for someone’s safety. [sg_popup id=”1″ event=”hover”][/sg_popup]
Dangers of Social Media
Live stream has become the trend in engagement, and for some, it is a validation of their ability to impact the lives of others (for positive or negative). Some people equate a level of self-esteem or confidence according to the number of people that “like” or watch live streaming. Social media numbers are too the base from which hone one should draw or place a value on personal worth. [sg_popup id=”1″ event=”hover”][/sg_popup]
Recent and horrific chaos of depression led to the live stream of suicide. Guard your mind, eyes, and mental wellness. When something goes viral, remember “VIRAL” means something is CONTAGIOUS, and there are consequences to personal health — such a death results in much conjecture. Unless someone has been to the point of this child’s pain, judgment, and opinions only satisfy those living to “talk” about it. Because of the need to have answers, opinions suffice to meet something in our nature, yet views can cause more damage. You never know who is reading, hearing, or in a place of pain struggling with what others might think “if the only knew.”
What Can I do?
Focus on facts
Suicide creates confusion. Survivors suffer a traumatic loss, and the depth of wounds in the souls shatter vulnerable places. It behooves the greater community to show kindness and have compassion rather than project judgment and discrimination.
Consider where to place focus. Facts do not change, and moreover, the truth may not be known yet will not change no matter how many additional points come to light.
Opinions are not facts, and facts are not the truth. As in all matters of suicides, the truth is what leads to healing and healthy processing of grief. Wrong judgments of what may have gone through the deceased’s mind can trigger “attempt survivors” and survivors of a family member that died by suicide. A trigger can retraumatize, or agitate invisible wounds left by the loos of a loved on to a similar death. Empathy and consideration of those impacted is something everyone can improve. Unless you have lived through this tragedy, it is unimaginable how difficult one comes to a place of peace when stigma continues to be imposed by many. Everyone struggles with the fear of rejection on some level. The tendency is to place some negative stigma to what is feared, socially devastating, and incomprehensible. For anyone that has never been to the point of such desperation, ignorance can unknowingly contribute to serious damage to the brokenhearted.
Have a plan to respond
When a “cry for help” comes in the form of a public post on social media, prepare and plan to be seriously proactive. In an age of cyberbullying, there is a serious need to be vigilant and reach out to a family member, or someone in authority of that person’s “friend” list. Screenshot the post and explain that you have serious concerns. Share the screenshot and any other indicators that have you concerned. It is far better to err on the side of caution than to dismiss a post that maybe that person’s outcry that they may be in trouble. Do this privately and do provide screenshots then possible. What one sees cannot be unseen on social media. A person wrestling with denial and dismissal will have greater peace of mind knowing you did what you could. Doing nothing can lead to distress.
It is better to take concerns seriously be it concerns of self-harm, talk of suicide, or no longer wanting to live is serious. Care enough to err on the side of caution than to lose a life to missed or neglected opportunity that makes a difference.
Determine how you will use Social media
Ultimately, the use of social media inappropriately may accomplish attention to a harmful threat to an individual or society. Mental wellness must be guarded and managed. It is time to realize the days of neglect, ignorance, and fear of mental illness is over. It is time to break a cycle, whereby hurt people transfer hurt people to other people. That is the result of all suicide. The time has come to be brave and free those that remain shackled by stigma. From one overcomer to another, rise! Make some “positive” noise!
Is social media a source of anguish?
YES! Social media has become the rumor mill on steroids. Before social media rumors spread by phone or one conversation at a time. Public platforms are a hotbed of escalation and damaging verbal exchange. Once the emotional damage occurs, it results in unseen wounds. What is evident is that responsible social media ettiquette is everyone’s responsibility.
How can we turn a social platform into support?
Use social media responsibly; contribute to and for the good of others and uphold a positive purpose. I will soon launch a podcast targeting Gen-Z and Millennials. These are the generations that have grown up with increased violence, self-harm, and a threat to their very existence. My choice is to impact the community one life at a time.
What will you do?