By the time you’re done reading this article, someone will probably have died by suicide. Every 16.2 minutes of every day, someone will kill themselves, leaving at least six people around them in pain.
Contrary to popular belief, many studies show that spring brings with it the highest rates of suicide. As the gray turns to blue and the brown to green, it seems as though everything around us is being refreshed. But what if it’s not? What if, as the entire world seems to be changing and thriving all around you, life is the same and nothing seems to be getting better? This is an unfortunate reality for many of us.
Cari Geiner, a Third Level Crisis Counselor, knows this to be true. “They often see things happening around them and think they should feel better, but they’re not. Especially for those who think it is a seasonal thing, it can be discouraging and traumatic when this doesn’t happen,” Cari explains.
At all times of the year, but even more so now, it is important to remember that people may be contemplating killing themselves, even if you can’t see it. We must all work to fight this often preventable cause of death.
A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control shows that suicide rates have risen by 24% over the past 15 years. “For every one person who tragically dies by suicide in the U.S., there are approximately 278 people who have moved past serious thoughts about killing themselves, and nearly 60 who have survived a suicide attempt, the overwhelming majority of whom will go on to live out their lives.” We must talk about these survivors, share their stories, and remember that there is hope in times of crisis.
So, what can I do to prevent suicide?
1. We must talk openly and directly about suicide.
Suicide often carries a stigma in our society. It’s something we try not to talk about, something we avoid or dismiss because, often, we don’t know how to address it. But suicide is real, prevalent – and often preventable. We need to talk about suicide and, more importantly, about the more than 90% of suicide survivors who won’t try to kill themselves again later in life.
2. Ask directly – "Are you thinking about killing yourself?"
If you notice someone acting differently, the best thing you can do is ask them directly about suicide, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” If you are indirect or unclear, you may make them feel disregarded or that the situation is unserious, causing you to miss their invitation for help. Most of the time, the answer will be “no”, but we must ask anyways. Otherwise, we may not know until it’s too late.
3. Seek help and help others seek it.
Most of us will never be experts on suicide – and you’re not expected to be. There are professionals, right here in our community, who are. They can help you overcome an immediate crisis, seek long-term help, and work towards healing and growth. Remember – it’s not your job to save their life. It’s your job to help them find someone who can.
4. Support Third Level
Third Level is available 24 hours a day to provide immediate crisis counseling and suicide prevention services to our community. It takes a lot of work – and money – to have trained crisis counselors available 24 hours. Support from our community keeps this vital program available to the 30,000+ contacts we receive each year. Donate, volunteer, and advocate to help us combat suicide.
Call Third Level now for immediate assistance. Third Level is part of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Trained, compassionate, knowledgeable counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help anyone who may be struggling with life’s challenges. From finding help to pay a utility bill to conquering thoughts of suicide, Third Level is there for you.
Interested in more information or training about suicide prevention? Consider attending Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST) or Counselor Skills Training, or call Third Level for more information today.
Third Level (24 hours):
(231) 922-4800 or (800) 442-7315
(231) 480-0292 (texting line)
3785 Veterans Drive
Traverse City, MI 49684