Dear President-Elect Trump,
I know that I am only school age and you probably won’t read this, but if you do I want to inform you about a serious problem that is seizing the nation. Suicide. Suicide is a serious problem that not only affects the person who committed suicide but the people around them. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) 42,773 Americans die each year due to suicide and suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S.A. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, but all I want you to do is listen.
In May of 2016 my cousin attempted to commit suicide. He was being bullied about not being able to take notes because he had dyslexia and just being different in general. He was cyberbullied and bullied in person just for wanting to be himself and having a disability. I don’t know exactly how he attempted to commit suicide but I do know, and am grateful for, he survived. From what he has told me, he regretted it from the first moment but he felt that it was the only way out. I am thankful that he survived but I acknowledge that others aren’t so lucky and they don’t get to see another day with them in it. They don’t get to see when their life gets better. They don’t get to see their future. All because they thought this was the only way out. We need to change this.
To put this into perspective, a person commits suicide every 16.2 minutes. Every movie you watch about 6 people commit suicide. Just think about this for a moment, one in every twelve college students create a plan for suicide. This is all because they are stressed or don’t think that they’re good enough. In 2013, most of the suicide was based in the school grades 9-12. 14-18 year-olds were most likely to self-harm and kill themselves. In 2013, 494,169 people were treated in emergency departments for self-inflicted injuries. That is, on average, 41,180 people a month. And finally, for every successful suicide there are 25 failed attempts. If you had a family member that had died due to suicide, 25 people attempted to kill themselves.
Some causes leading to suicide are the following: depression, mental illnesses, psychosis, impulsivity, and a need for help. Some people can become depressed after a loved one’s death. Let me give you an example, a girl’s mother died of cancer. Once lively, she starts to drift off, not responding to texts and becoming extremely introverted. She starts self-harm. She finally responds to the texts, with one word. “Goodbye.” This doesn’t have to happen fast, it can occur over years. This happens more times than some would like to accept. A loved one dies, the first domino to fall in a row. The last domino? Suicide. Others can have mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. These people aren’t in as much of a risk as those with depression but they are still at risk.
The effects of suicide affect the people around the deceased way more than the person would have thought. The person’s partner often thinks that they weren’t good enough to live for. Siblings often think they didn’t do enough to help. The children of the deceased have major damage to their self esteem. Grandparents are often affected but their grief is often overlooked because people think they don’t have as much of a connection. Colleagues often wonder if they had anything to do with their death. Even people who didn’t even know the person can be affected in the same ways as all others. Take the example from the last paragraph, let’s say this girl had a little sister, her little sister could then be depressed at the fact that she had lost two family members, she knows she couldn’t have done anything about her mother’s death, but she thinks she could have done something about her sister’s.
Two different perspectives are the person who committed suicide, thinking it was the only way out and that no one would miss them when they were gone, and the people affected afterwards, thinking they weren’t good enough or didn’t do enough to help. I’m sure there are more, I just couldn’t think of them.
I have thought of some possible solutions to this epidemic plaguing our nation. We could have better mental health help and possibly institute a group that will have suicide survivors teach teenagers about what they felt before and after their attempt at suicide.
So, Mr. President, this is the question now: What are you going to do about it?