The Silent Epidemic of Suicide
Every 17 minutes, someone dies from a silent epidemic that is sweeping college campuses. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among students, behind car accidents. It kills more teenagers and young adults than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, pneumonia, influenza, birth defects and stroke combined.
Of course, suicide, just like many other things, can be preventable if you know what to look for. According to Dr. Dolores Cimini, director of the Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program at the University at Albany, almost everyone exhibits at least some warning behaviors before attempting suicide. And while more males commit suicide than females, females attempt suicide much more frequently than men do. Cimini says there are around 10 danger signals that someone might be suicidal:
1). Many, but not all, people who commit suicide are suffering from depression. Some signs that a person might be depressed are a general absence of mood or a significantly depressed mood. They may have an inability to experience pleasure, or lack interest in daily life. They may have inexplicable crying spells, sadness, irritability, or constant insomnia or hypersomnia. There may be a substantial change in appetite, eating patterns, or weight. Some people suffering from depression have fatigue and tend to rely on drugs like Modafinil
to function during the day. Finally, feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness, and a lack of sexual desire may be a signal of depression.
2). Depression as a warning signal. If someone you know has exhibited signs of depression and is going through a particularly stressful situation, such as a recent loss, or is having difficulty maintaining a meaningful relationship, that could be a warning sign.
3). Another danger signal is when someone consistently fails at meeting preset goals, or even experiences stress at having failed an important test--watch for signs of a crisis
4). Many people convey their intentions directly with statements such as "I feel like killing myself," or "I don't know how much longer I can take this."
5). Others may hint at a detailed suicide plan with statements such as "I've been saving up my pills in case things get really bad" or "lately, I've been driving my car like I really don't care what happens."
6). In general, statements that describe feelings of helplessness, extreme loneliness, may be made. These are extremely important to pay attention to--they are what's known as the "cry for help." These individuals are desperately seeking someone to communicate with.
7). Look for outward changes in behavior. For instance, they may prepare for death by giving away prized possessions, making a will, or putting their affairs in order.
8). People considering suicide often withdraw from those close to them, or lose interest in prior activities or relationships.
9). A sudden, intense lift in spirits may also be a danger signal as it may indicate the person already feels a sense of relief knowing their problems will soon be over.
"Almost everyone exhibits at least some warning behaviors before attempting suicide."
10). Finding a note is perhaps the most obvious sign that someone may be thinking about suicide. According to Dr. Cimini, all signs of suicide should be taken very seriously. Whether a statement is as direct as "I want to die", or passive as "I wish I could just go to sleep and not ever wake up," the meaning is still the same. The most important thing you can do, as a friend, is to get help--for yourself and for the suicidal person. No matter how good your intentions, unless you're a certified counselor, you should never try to handle the situation by yourself.
However, if you are in a situation where someone comes to you for help, remain calm. In most instances, there is no rush (however, don't be afraid to just dial 911 of it is an urgent situation). Don't forget to deal directly with the topic of suicide. The myth that talking about suicide will "give someone the idea" is just that--a myth. Encourage problem solving and positive actions. If you feel the issue is urgent, make a contract with the person not to harm himself or herself for a set period of time, for instance, until they are able to talk to a professional.
Reinforce the idea that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Whatever the current crisis is, it will pass. Nearly every community, college, or city has a suicide hotline for emergencies. Don't be afraid to use it if you know someone who is suicidal, or for more information on suicide. buy provigil
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