With the recent passing of Robin Williams, the topic of suicide is currently on everyone’s mind. It’s hard to fathom what could cause a wonderful and extremely talented man to take his own life.
Questions like “How could he not see that he was loved and adored?”, “How can a man who had everything not want to continue living?”,and “What could have possibly pushed him over the edge?” are being asked by young and old.
These are all very valid questions. However, in a nation where more than 100 people commit suicide daily, we need to use this occasion to ask some huge questions of ourselves — including:
1. How can we come together as a people to support and love those with mental illnesses and depression?
2. How can we individually identify the signs of a suicidal coworker, friend, or family member and make a difference?
3. What if I become suicidal? What can I do to save my own life?
According to Patrick J. Skerrett, Executive Editor of Harvard Health, “every suicide, like every person, is different. Many are sparked by intense feelings of anger, despair, hopelessness, or panic.”
He further shares that many people tend to commit suicide on impulse, rather than planning for months or years.
Skerrett has found that the most common reasons for suicide in these cases include: (1) “An episode of depression, psychosis or anxiety,” (2) A Significant loss – such as the death of a partner or loss of a job,” (3) A personal crisis or life stress — especially one that increases sense of isolation or leads to a loss of self-esteem,” (4) An illness or medication that triggers a mood change,” and (5) Exposure to the suicidal behaviors of others — such as friends, peers, or celebrities.”
What Should We Do?
The truth of the matter is that we all go through one or more of the above scenarios. Life is constantly in flux and we are always faced with challenges. Some of us have the ability to overcome life’s difficulties with flying colors, while others are in desperate need of love and support.
This can only be done if we pull our noses out of our smartphones and start paying attention to each other. Look each other in the eyes and ask wholeheartedly, “how are you doing… is there anything I can do for you?”
This should be done outside of the home, especially to strangers we meet each and every day. For one of the biggest, fattest lies on planet earth is that we are “strangers” at all.
We human beings are ONE BIG FAMILY. Regardless of who we are (rich, poor, skinny, overweight, black, while, brown, yellow, purple, gay, straight, Republican, Democrat — you get the point…) we had something in common — we considered Robin Williams a brother.
And if we could consider a man we had never met in person our brother, can’t we do the same with each other? What we can and should do is LOVE — stop judging — stop ignoring — stop bullying and start paying attention. Start helping, start giving, start asking, start listening, and HEAL each other the best we can. This is what we can do right this very moment.
When Should You Call the National Suicide Prevention Line?
If you or a loved one needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK. Counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. All calls are completely confidential.
Some of the warning signs of suicidal individuals include:
1. Talking about suicide and saying things such as “I’d be better off dead.”
2. Trying to gain access to pills, guns, ropes, or other items that could cause bodily harm.
3. Someone has no hope for the future. They don’t see a way forward or the possibility that life can get better.
4. They hate themselves and are filled with guilt.
5. They are obsessed with getting things in order, such as giving away their most prized items.
6. An individual begins saying goodbye to family members and friends, as though they aren’t going to be around anymore.
For more information on suicide, click here.