Vail Valley Voices: How to ﬁght suicide
Ryan Summerlin April 6, 2013
Compassion. What does this word mean to you? A general definition is “feeling empathy for others and wanting to make the suffering better.”
This is not just something that the program of SOS Outreach teaches, but a principle that everyone should focus on, whether helping a friend out, volunteering or giving to charity. Compassion enables somebody to make a positive change in a community.
The reason that I am stating this out is to conclude that if everyone used this principle, then we could put an end to suicide.
Suicide ranks as the 11th-leading cause of death in the United States.
So please, take note of how you can prevent suicide.
First of all, suicide is a desperate attempt to escape suffering that has become unbearable.
This means that people who try to commit suicide just want their pain to end.
Second, most suicidal individuals give warning signs or signals of intentions. These include sadness, noticeable change in behavior, alcohol or drug abuse, withdrawal from friends and/or family, and threats of suicide. There are plenty more, but these are the most common.
Next, some of the risk factors for suicide are a broken relationship, family history of suicide, depression, death or terminal illness of a loved one or loss of job, home, and money.
Before you can take action to help an individual, there are some precautions.
Some things not to do:
• Do not keep suicide threats a secret.
• Do not act shocked or condemn.
• Do not point out how much better off they are than others.
• Do not interject your own problems or feelings.
• Do not suggest drugs or alcohol.
• Do not minimize the person’s feeling and do not offer simple solutions.
• Do not try to be a therapist – get professional help.
• Take suicide threats seriously.
• Ask questions.
• Listen in a non-judgmental way: “I’m here for you,” “Let’s talk.”
• Get a suicidal individual connected with professional help.
If you would like more information, call the Office of Suicide Prevention at 303-692-2539. In case of an emergency, dial 911.
Suicide is one of the most terrifying truths about our society today, but with skill, knowledge and desire, we could all potentially end it.
Giselle Azcona, 14, attends Eagle Valley High School. She is in her fourth year with SOS Outreach.