Raising Suicide Awareness This Month
By Dr. Stephanie Napoli, Behavioral Health Director, MCHC
A boy’s girlfriend just broke up with him. His parents tell him “I told you so”. His classmates gossip and laugh about it on Facebook. His best friend is too busy with his own girlfriend to talk. The boy isolates in his room and thinks, “I wish I was dead. I might as well be. Nobody cares.”
Alone, empty, rageful, worthless, trapped in nothingness. These are just some of the words people use to describe how they feel as they consider suicide. These are also some of the words people use to describe how they feel when a loved one does take his or her own life.
September is suicide awareness and prevention month, and it’s important to remember that suicide devastates our whole community. Hawaii’s youth attempt suicide at twice the national average. One in five teenagers has seriously considered suicide in the past year.
The boy’s aunty notices he is not at lunch and goes to his room to check on him. She talks with the boy, who says, “You’d all be better off without me.” The aunty asks him, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” As the boy nods, he breaks down into tears. Aunty hugs him, reassures him that he is loved and that the hurt will pass. “Until it does,” Auntie says, “I’m here.” Aunty takes the young man to a therapist for a crisis appointment. He is able to talk about how terrible he is feeling and somehow, he feels a little better that now two people care enough to listen.
Each and every person in our Molokai ohana is too precious to lose needlessly, and we can all be part of the solution. Take suicidal thoughts, comments, or threats seriously and get help immediately — for yourself, your loved one, your friend, your neighbor, your classmate, or your coworker.
Also look for feelings of hopelessness or having no reason to live, feeling trapped or in unbearable pain (physical or emotional), talking about being a burden to others, increased use of alcohol or drugs, self-destructive or reckless behavior, isolation, mood swings, and giving away personal items or saying goodbye.
The pain, hopelessness, and helplessness that make you consider suicide are temporary. Don’t act on suicidal thoughts. Instead, get help. There is hope.
Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) any time or make an appointment with a local Behavioral Health provider as soon as possible.